What Works Scotland PhD student Alex Wright has co-authored a paper about taxes on alcohol, tobacco and other unhealthy products.

It contains a systematic review of the research on health taxes, and aims to generate insights into how such taxes can:

  • reduce consumption of targeted products and related harms
  • generate revenues for health objectives and distribute the tax burden across income groups in an efficient and equitable manner
  • be made politically sustainable.

Her co-authors are Katherine E. Smith and Mark Hellowell from the University of Edinburgh.

They examined 91 peer-reviewed and 11 grey-literature studies of ‘health taxes’ – those intended to increase the costs of manufacturing, distributing, retailing and/or consuming health-damaging products, focusing on taxes on retailers and manufacturers of unhealthy products, and consumer taxes targeting unhealthy foods, such as sugar-sweetened beverages.

Read Policy lessons from health taxes: a systematic review of empirical studies in BMC Public Health, an open access, peer-reviewed journal.