17.4.08

Alcohol consumption and taxes


Just another bottle.

News concerning alcohol taxes in Sweden. The common practice in Sweden is to tax wines more than beers. This move as the European Union believes, is to provide protection of beers over imported wines.

Adjustments have been made since the ruling so that all alcohols are taxed at the same rate.

Here's the news link for further reading.

This brought home a point that taxes on alcohol did not seem to have too much impact on its consumption! Try buying a bottle of beer in Singapore or London and you'll find how expensive it is. This is due to the high prices on all liquours in Singapore. Apparently, this is a measure to discourage alcohol consumption which is similar to the taxes on cigarettes.

I know the intention of leveraging taxes on these undesirable goods that some of us can't do without. But alcohol consumption as I observed did not decrease at any rate.

Just pop into any pubs or clubs in any city and you'll see the young and old drinking like there's no tomorrow. Some pubs try to win their customers with tactics like "Happy Hours" or discounted liquours for the week. That encourages drinking as early as 11am!

I personally have passed through the phase of drinking like a fish. And the prices did not hinder much for me. If I can't afford Moet et Chandon, bring on the alcoholic sodas!

However, take a look at France where children are encouraged to drink wine at a young age. I do not see alcoholism as such a huge problem (I do not live there. This is based on observations on my travels.)! I do not see drunks on the streets on friday nights or my mates indulging in binge drinking everyday unlike that in London.

Alcoholism is such a huge problem in any country. Personally, I think taxes is not the solution. What is your stand?

Another problem of alcoholism: Drunk Driving. Check this article out.



8 comments:

uncommon said...

"I do not see drunks on the streets on friday nights or my mates indulging in binge drinking everyday unlike that in London."

Shereen,

Whereas I agree with your general observations on behaviour on the streets in London: the cirrhosis figures from France have historically been the worst in Europe.

Still, they are getting much worse in the UK: I'm going to do some research and get back to you.


brendan

C K said...

Beer in London is not that expensive really. There were some complaints that Tesco is selling beer that is cheaper than it's selling mineral water!

Am not a beer (or wine) drinker myself so cannot comment about whether taxes does have an impact.

:P

Bong (JB) said...

Sin taxes doesn't have much of an impact on us either 'cause we don't smoke and has also gotten past the drinking-til-we-drop phase.

But, yeah, sin taxes (that's what we call them here) doesn't seem to stop people from drinking. Fact, during an economic slump, sale of alcoholic beverages soar.

It's human nature to covet the forbidden so maybe that's why in countries where alcohol is seen as "bad" there's more people who go overboard with drinking. :)

Thanks.

BK said...

Yup! Beer in Singapore certainly costs so much more comparing to some other countries because of the high taxes. It is supposed to deter drinking but I think it put more money in someone's else pockets. When I was in the Philippines, I can get a bottle of San Miguel Light for 16 Peso back in 2003-2004 in the convenience store like the 7-Eleven in Singapore. That is like only $0.50 a bottle! :)

In Singapore, you have to pay about 8 times that amount.

SheR. said...

>>Brendan, Thanks for coming back. Hope your knee is feeling all right now.

Pardon my ignorance on the liver hardening levels in France. I'm just stating general observations on the streets at night in Paris and London.Ladies drunk and sprawled all over the streets at night. Not a very nice sight.

I read and saw a lot of reports while in London concerning the problem of binge drinking in UK.

SheR. said...

>> Hi CK. Relative to Singapore, alcoholic drinks in London are still considered "cheap". I'm not talking about Tesco's prices where one can get a can of beer for merely 88p. A pint in pubs can costs 2.60pounds. That's a lot of money.

And the prices of wine are still pretty high!

SheR. said...

>>Bong. Absolutely. I've seen really poor people frequent pubs even though they can't afford to eat!
That's absurd but true.

The effect of alcohol is helps to numb our senses. So we think we feel less pain after drinking. Well.. there's not true. We just forgot what happened at the previous night's drinking spree cos we are so dead drunk!!!

SheR. said...

>>Yeah BK. I didn't realise the high prices of alcohol till my fiance pointed out how cheap beers are in Croatia.

Think it's time government should wake up to the idea that taxes don't work on vices unless it serves the purpose of plumping up one's pockets!!