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In Mexico, heart conditions, diabetesand malignant tumors are the three main causes of death for both women and men, according to INEGI. ORbesity worsens the first to diseases. For the public health system, the cost of treating these type of illnesses is very high and it also tends to increase every year.
For this reason, in 2014the government increased the taxes on cigarettes and soda, in order to discourage the intake of these products that are linked to Cancer and obesity. Since then, several experts warned that cigarettes and these type of beverages have an inelastic demand: if the prices vary, the demand reduces slightly or not at all.
The numbers released by THE UNIVERSAL today confirm what was predicted five years ago. Cigarette sales nearly doubled since 2014, as it has increased from 997 million cigarette packets to 1,733 million in 2019, according to the INEGI. Similarly, in the last five years, the sale of juices and sodas went from 9,651 million liters to 10,172 million liters and in the case of energy drinks, its intake went from 190 million liters to 238 million liters.
These numbers show that the intake has increased, not decreased. The public health problem has not changed, moreover, the implementation of higher taxes boosted the informal economy as a lot of consumers acquire counterfeit cigarettes because they cost one-third of what real tobacco costs In regards to sodapeople's health is at risk, because people are increasingly buying cheap beverages with no trademark, sanitary control, and that don't pay taxes.
In 2014, it was argued that a large part of the taxes would be invested in programs to prevent obesity and improve hospitals. Last week, the current government revealed that it will fight to eradicate obesity and diabetes from scratch since the strategy implement by the previous administration did not register any positive changes.
In 2020, the cigarette and soda taxes could increase again, nevertheless, after the results obtained five years ago, authorities should know that raising taxes won't be enough to prevent its intake. In case taxes increase, the resources have to be used to implement effective prevention programs, the health of millions of Mexicans depend on it.