GCC states are considering a 50 percent tax on beverages and cigarettes to control consumption, it was reported this week. At a meeting in Saudi Arabia, health ministers from the GCC proposed the tax and presented it to finance ministers for approval, reported Arabic-language daily Emarat Al Youm. \"Studies conducted by the ministries of health in GCC countries showed that beverage prices in the region are the lowest compared to the rest of the world, even though it is a key factor in the spread of diabetes among children,\" said Younus Al Khoury, undersecretary of the UAE ministry of finance. \"For this reason, it recommended a 50 percent tax on soft drink products and a further 50 per cent on tobacco, which is already subject to a 100 per cent tax... the study recommends that the tax on tobacco should be 150 per cent because it causes serious illnesses,\" he added. Al Khoury said if the proposal is approved, it will be enforced among all GCC countries. However, he did not give a date for the introduction of the taxes, since the matter depends on the response of each GCC member. The UAE said last July that it was planning to publish new regulations this year to control the sale of energy drinks in the country. The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology said it was preparing \"a censorship mechanism\" to maintain consumers\' health.