The lower house of the Swiss parliament, the Swiss National Council, has approved a 300% rise in the tax on alcopops, defined as soft drinks mixed with alcohol with an abv of between 5% and 6%.

The tax increase, which will result in a SF1.8 (US$1.4/€1.2) tax on every 0.275 litre alcopop bottle, has already been approved by the upper house of parliament, the Swiss Council of States.

Government officials said the tax hike was not expressly aimed at increasing tax revenues but was designed to reduce consumption of these products among young, and particularly among female, consumers.

Alcopop consumption is reported to have risen steeply in Switzerland from 28m bottles in 2001 to 400m bottles in 2002. Consumption was only 2m bottles in 2000.