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Conference: Health Tax Reforms — Challenges and Lessons Learned

June 24-25, 2024
Vienna Health Tax Conference

Taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and sugar-sweetened beverages are used to tax products that damage health and generate negative externalities to society. When well designed—with a focus on the right rate, structures, and base, and supported by complementary administrative measures—they constitute one of the most cost-effective ways to reducing consumption of unhealthy products and saving lives, and can also be used to raise revenue and achieve this quickly since the impact is immediate.

Trends in tobacco-attributable mortality are rising particularly rapidly in the Western Balkans: more than in other upper-middle income countries and the rest of Europe which has experienced significant declines in tobacco attributable mortality in recent decades. Equally, mortality attributable to diets high in sugar nearly doubled since 1990. Human capital challenges in the Western Balkans are a particular concern due to aging, emigration, as well as low labor participation and productivity, which has direct consequences on region’s low potential growth and slow convergence of incomes with the EU.

A two-day conference on Health Tax Reforms – Challenges and Lessons Learned is held on June 24-25, 2024, in Vienna, Austria. The conference is jointly organized by the World Bank and the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies. The conference convenes senior officials on taxation and health policy, customs and tax administration as well as research community from the Western Balkans, in addition to the World Bank, European Commission, WHO, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and practitioners from EU candidate countries.

This event is designed to support and promote the recent health tax reforms and research that can inform addressing key challenges and opportunities in the field of preventing illicit trade and reforming health taxes to boost revenue, reduce mortality, morbidity and health spending, and facilitate networking and collaboration.


  • When: Jun 24-25, 2024
  • Where: Vienna, Praterstrasse 31