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Australia raises tax on alcopops

The tax on pre-mixed alcoholic drinks was raised this week as new research revealed that teenage girls were consuming them at unprecedented levels.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said the tax on the so-called alcopops – bottled or canned fizzy drinks mixed with mostly with rum or vodka – had been increased by 70% from midnight Saturday.

Depending on the amount of alcohol in the drink, the cost would increase by up to A$1.30, she said.

“We’ve got research that shows that young people are price-sensitive, and if that means this is a deterrent, then that will be a really successful measure from our part.”

Roxon said the tax hike was in response to the Australia’s “cultural problem” of heavy drinking, particularly among young women. The minister said a survey released Sunday reported on “thousands and thousands of girls, (aged) 15 and under, who are drinking these products to amounts that and levels that have never been seen before.”

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