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Spain needs higher taxes on alcohol: doctors

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Spain needs higher taxes on alcohol: doctors
Alcohol is said to be responsible for 10 percent of deaths among 15 to 64-year-olds in Spain, but the country's taxes on booze are among the lowest in Europe. Photo:José Jordan/AFP
09:52 CEST+02:00
Spain should follow France's lead and tax drinks more heavily to improve public health, a top public health agency said on Thursday.

France recently boosted tax on beer by 160 percent and is now looking at bringing a similar tax hike on wine, with both moves designed to bring in extra cash for welfare programmes.

Now the Spanish Society of Public Health and Health Administration (Sespas) says Spain should look at doing the same thing, national daily El Mundo reported on Friday.

"In terms of public health, the tax could be an effective measure which, as well as raising funds, will reduce consumption (of alcohol),” said the group in a statement.

Sespas said alcohol was responsible for 10 percent of deaths among 15 to 64-year-olds in Spain but the country's taxes on booze were among the lowest in Europe.

Raising those taxes could have make a serious dent in drinking rates "especially among young people", Sespas said.  

The recommendation comes in the wake of the release of the latest draft of Spain's alcohol law which suggests fines for the parents of young people who knowingly let their children become intoxicated.

This initiative is part of a larger plan by the health ministry to crack down on binge drinking among young people.

According to Ministry of Health data, up to 62 percent of minors aged 14 to 18 have in the previous year taken part in a mass open-air boozing session known as a ‘botellón’, where cheap spirits or wine are typically mixed with fizzy drinks besides large-scale consumption of beer.

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