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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Health Canada: Tax Booze Based on Alcohol Content

A study by the Centre for Addictions Research at the University of Victoria funded by Health Canada recommends lowering the taxes on reduced-alcohol beer, wine and spirits as a way to get Canadians to cut alcohol consumption, which the group says increases the risk of injury and chronic disease.

The study recommends taxing higher alcohol products at higher rates as a form of good public policy. The researchers at the University of Victoria say it is difficult to find lower alcohol beers in government run beer stores. It notes that in Australia, which has lower taxes on lower-strength beers, 10 percent of beer sales are on brews between 2.5 and 3.5 percent alcohol by volume.

The study says that beer, wine and spirits should not be taxed based on price, but rather based on alcohol content. It also suggested that tax incentives should be given to drinks companies to introduce lower alcohol products and that higher strength products face increased taxes. It also recommends that tax revenues from alcohol sales be earmarked for alcohol treatment and prevention services.

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