Best practice - Lithuania
From an international perspective Lithuania has been among the countries with a high consumption of alcohol and its conditioned harm for a long time. According to the latest data (2006 -2010) regarding consumption of pure alcohol per person 15 years and older Lithuania is the sixth among the most alcohol consuming members of EU, also in regard to the consumption of strong spirits – the third. In order to reduce alcohol affordability, the price of pure alcohol must increase within the growth of inflation.
Many researchers have concluded that the bigger the price of an alcoholic drink is in any market, the smaller is the consumption. We find that alcohol prices in Lithuania are extremely low – the market is small and there quite many alcohol producers in the country. Raising alcohol taxes would not only empower state to collect more taxes to the state budget, but would also allow reducing alcohol consumption among minors, who simply would not afford neither light, nor any other alcoholic drinks.
The main aims of Lithuanian National campaign were to encourage public support for alcohol taxation increase in the country by introducing the benefits of alcohol taxation. During this campaign many actions were performed so they can be split into several parts.
Joint position and press releases
In May 2013 National Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition, Lithuanian Medical Students’ Association and Lithuania Pupils’ Parliament sent a joint position to the Minister of Health Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis who supports an increase of alcohol price and at that time stated it very clearly for many times in media. The main aim of this position was to inform ministry about our commitment to unite, as many non-governmental sector organizations as we can that would support ministry initiative both in the Parliament and media. Pupils, students and alcohol policy experts organisations were chosen on porpuse to show broad society cmmitment to alcohol related problems.
Press Releases and on alcohol taxation and Blog articles were prepared during all the project.
Factsheets on alcohol taxation
The content of factsheets was designed by coalition members. It includes not only the ideas coalition is proposing – mainly raising the excise fee, but also graphical evidence based information on why this measure is effective and necessary. The factsheets were distributed among Parliament members, Public Health biuros, Ministry of Health, Drug, Tobacco and Alcohol Control Department. It is handed out during related conferences, meetings, seminars etc. Factsheet raises awareness of alcohol taxation benefits and breaks alcohol industry myths on the topic. Posters having the same information as the factsheet were prepared and distributed to Public health biuros, universities, some primary health and other institutions. To dowload the factsheet click here.
In order to promote the increase of alcohol taxation as an effective alcohol consumption control measure webpage http://www.didesnisakcizas.lt/ was launched. The webpage includes not only information about alcohol taxation, but also provides opportunity to send a supportive letter to Lithuanian Members of the Parliament to increase the excise tax for alcohol in Lithuania in less then one minute. Website visitors are informed with scientific evidence about alcohol taxation, its benefits and impact of youth and have possibility to check previosuly mentioned factsheets as well. Short letter asking for higher alcohol prices is the main hinge of the website and visitors can easily contact all Lithuanian Parliament members with one click.