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Group advocates for increased taxes on tobacco and alcohol

In an effort to address the critical issue of tobacco and alcohol consumption and their associated health risks, the Vision for Alternative Development-Ghana (VALD) is calling on the government to increased taxes on these products.

This initiative is part of a comprehensive strategy to promote public health and reduce the negative impacts of tobacco and alcohol use in Ghana.

Tobacco and alcohol consumption have long been recognised as major public health concerns, linked to a range of health issues such as cancer, diabetes, liver problems, hypertension, stroke, and more. These detrimental effects on health have prompted the advocacy for increased taxes as an effective means to deter usage and reduce the associated health risks.

VALD conducted a Rapid Study on tobacco industry interference in the passage of the excise duty amendment Act 2023.

During a media conference in Accra, Labram Musah, the Executive Director of Programmes at VALD, emphasised the urgent need for price hikes through substantial tobacco excise taxes.

Such increases have been proven to swiftly reduce the affordability of these products, ultimately decreasing their consumption.

Mr Musah shed light on the industry’s efforts to prevent the government from imposing taxes on these products.

It is essential to understand that while tobacco, alcohol, and sugar products have limited benefits to human health, their consumption contributes significantly to various health issues.

Therefore, the call for increased taxes is not only about generating revenue but also about safeguarding the health of the population.

The government has been urged to implement these taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and sugar products.

Such a move is believed to make these items less accessible to the youth who are often influenced by their peers.

It will encourage healthier choices, such as investing in education and well-being, and discourage the consumption of harmful substances.

VALD also suggested that, a portion of the tax revenue from these products should be allocated to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) or similar initiatives aimed at providing support to individuals suffering from the health consequences of tobacco and alcohol use.

Divine Darlington Logo, a researcher at the Ghana Health Service, emphasized the dangerous nature of tobacco and electronic cigarettes.

He stressed the urgent need for intense advocacy to combat the growing consumption of these harmful products, especially among the youth

The call for increased taxes on tobacco and alcohol products is not just about fiscal policy; it’s a vital step toward protecting public health and curbing the devastating impact of these substances on individuals and society.

As the government prepares for the budget and fiscal policy, this advocacy serves as a plea to prioritise the well-being of the people and the future generation by discouraging the consumption of harmful products

Source: Adom Online

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