On Alcohol And Tobacco Tax Increase Proposals
So the new idea from Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health is to increase the price of alcohol and cigarettes as a way to stop people consuming the products so much.
Look, I think people smoke and drink too much but increasing the price of either product by way of taxes is not going to stop people from consuming as much. It just means they will start drinking and smoking the lower quality stuff which will be a lot worse for their health.
I think the price of cigarettes in this country is too low and so people can afford more. So there is something that can be done there.
But the question that should be asked here is… why are people smoking and drinking so much? What is driving people to such excesses? And if you increase the taxes, while it will punish the imbibers and puffers it does not give them an alternative.
I am not saying that there is no concern over non-communicable diseases and the sort. Let’s face it, one of the reasons they have gotten out of hand is because everyone took their eyes of that ball and threw all the money into the HIV/AIDS hat. So of course if you let something have a life of its own it will mutate, a bit like exponential decay.
It does need to be holistic approach that creates a societal solution and not the de facto system which punishes people for living.