China News Service, January 29. According to the South Korean "Joongang Ilbo" report, the Ministry of Health and Welfare of South Korea released the "Fifth Comprehensive National Health Promotion Plan" on the 27th, expounding the direction and issues of the government's health policy in the next 10 years.
Including plans to impose the same "health tax" on alcohol products as cigarettes.
These plans aim to extend the healthy life span of Koreans (the life span that can live a healthy life) from 70.4 years in 2018 to 73.3 years in 2030.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare of South Korea stated that “in order to guide people to reduce alcohol consumption, the government will consider price control policies including the levy of health taxes on alcohol products”.
At the same time, the South Korean government also plans to expand the prohibition on the display of alcohol advertisements from 7 to 22:00 local time from currently applicable TV stations to various media such as the Internet and digital broadcasting, and prohibit the printing of pictures of advertising spokespersons on wine bottles. , Strengthen the management of alcohol advertising.
The biggest goal for the government to consider imposing a health tax on alcohol is to force people to reduce their alcohol consumption by increasing the price of alcohol products.
This is also to ensure tax fairness.
People whose health is harmed by excessive drinking need to be covered by the national medical insurance for higher medical expenses. Part of the expenses need to be shared by the medical insurance paid by non-drinkers, which is unfair.
According to data from the Korea National Medical Insurance Corporation, the annual socio-economic cost of drinking is approximately 9.45 trillion won, which is much higher than smoking (7.1 trillion won) and obesity (6.7 trillion won).
The government plans to use the levied health tax on alcohol to promote alcohol cessation policies or as a treatment expense for patients who drink excessively.
The government levies a health tax on cigarettes for the same purpose, aiming to use this part of the tax for treatment of patients with lung cancer and other diseases caused by smoking.
Kim Won-sik, a professor of economics at Konkuk University, said, “In addition to cigarettes and alcohol, developed countries also impose the same tax on sugar. This is the so-called'crime tax.' That is, by levying taxes to get close to these potentially dangerous factors People bear the corresponding consequences. In the long run, Korea should also fully introduce these tax items."
According to reports, health tax is an additional tax levied in addition to consumption tax.
South Korea raised cigarette taxes and health taxes significantly in 2015, resulting in a substantial increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes from 2,500 won to the current 4,500 to 5,000 won, and the health tax for a pack of cigarettes was 841 won.
If a health tax is imposed on alcohol products in accordance with similar standards, the prices of shochu and beer may increase by about 20% to 30%.
Although the starting point of this policy is to promote health, this approach of completely transferring pressure to consumers can easily cause dissatisfaction.
Both shochu and beer are typical "grass-rooted liquors", which are very price-sensitive, and rising prices are bound to trigger public controversy.
South Korean citizen Kim Myung-soo said, “After a day of work, drinking with colleagues and friends is the only pleasure, and now an additional health tax is imposed, and ordinary people don’t even have an outlet to breathe.” “Drinking is really harmful. Healthy, but the government also needs to consider the joys and sorrows of ordinary people when formulating policies."
In addition, the Korean Ministry of Welfare also plans to raise the health tax on cigarettes, and intends to increase the price of cigarettes in Korea to an average of 7.36 U.S. dollars (8,000 won) in OECD countries within 10 years through this regulation.
Kim Yoon, a professor in the preventive medicine classroom at Seoul National University School of Medicine, said, “The government must make it clear that the increase in health tax is not to increase national taxes and expand fiscal sources, but to persuade people’s health, so as to persuade people.”