Policy targeted to bring down alcohol consumption to be implemented soonTshering Zam, Thimphu
Jan 5 2016
Health ministry in collaboration with other stakeholders will implement the National Policy and Strategic Framework to reduce harmful use of alcohol after working out an action plan. The Cabinet had endorsed the policy, last month.
The health ministry had worked on the policy for the last four years.
Even though the ministry and other stakeholders had come up 10 areas of intervention before, consumption of alcohol is increasing every year. There are over 4000 alcohol outlets across the country.
The ministry felt the need for a new policy after the interventions failed to curtail alcohol consumption.
The new policy has taxation on beverages as one of the strategies to bring down alcohol consumption in the country.
Department of Public Health’s Director, Dr.Pandup Tshering said examples from other countries have shown that making alcohol beverages less affordable, less available, and less accessible have worked.
“So, we are thinking that raising taxes would be one of the options of reducing accessibility and also affordability.” The Director said the policy will target liquor with more alcohol content as those are more harmful to health.
Even after increasing the tax, the policy says it is important to monitor consumption of potential substitutes; homemade brew in particular and illegally imported products.