Alcohol sales down in Lithuania but too early for conclusions

Excise duty results published by the Lithuanian State Tax Inspectorate signal a decline in alcohol sales and possibly consumption, however, experts say that the information is insufficient for credible conclusions, as they do not cover the impact of illicit alcohol and alcohol purchased abroad.

“The initial numbers, which possibly show a tendency of declining alcohol consumption are optimistic and give hope of fighting the problem even more efficiently in the future. Nevertheless, applauding and assessing the results is still a bit too early. To be able to draw conclusions, we need to conduct a more thorough analysis, not just look at a single number that possibly shows decline,” Lina Businskaite-Sriubene, adviser to Lithuania’s Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga, told BNS.

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“It is too early to draw conclusions about reduced consumption and especially harm associated with alcohol use,” Nijole Gostautaite Midttun, NordAN board member from Lithuania comments. “However preliminary assessment indicates that even substantial increase in excise tax did not have a negative impact on tax collection short term. Which is very good news and defies apocalyptic predictions by alcohol industry. Two months of March and April, 2017 immediately after measures came into effect resulted in lower excise tax income, however Finance ministry reports that during first half a year of 2017 state received 45,3 mln. euros more than during the same period last year.”