Tax That Can Save Lives: Sugar Tax Gets Support From Scientists

First Posted: Feb 16, 2017 05:03 AM EST

The rising percentage of people living with obesity and developing chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer encouraged scientists and lawmakers to join forces and find out the best ways that can help people cut down consumption of high sugar foods and beverages. Sugar tax is one such solution, which has positive implications in both socio-economic and health sectors. Scientists are also supporting this move and encouraging more and more countries to levy it.

Canada, the U.K. and France are some of the countries that have been on the forefront of the fight against obesity. They have been testing various tactics to encourage people opt for healthier foods and beverages and stay away from sugary drinks and calorie-rich foods, like chocolates and ice cream.

While France has banned soda fountains from all public places, Canada has started imposing sugar tax on the purchase of sugary carbonated drinks. Scientists believe that the method seems to be working, and it has considerably reduced the average consumption of unhealthy foods in people, ABC reported.

In a recently published research article in the PLoS Medicine journal, a team of Australian researchers has suggested that a right combination of tax and subsidy could be even more helpful in improving population health in Australia and reducing the cost for treatment of preventable lifestyle diseases. Imposition of taxes on unhealthy food items and cutting the cost of healthier vitamin, mineral and fiber-rich foods can encourage people to make the obvious change in their shopping and eating habits.

Experts believe that the method is excellent and has guaranteed high success rate in Australia. This assumption is based on the fact that similar strategies have already been applied successfully in other sectors. According to, when the government increased the cost of cigarettes, there was an instantaneous decline in average number of smokers. Similar results were also observed after increasing the price of alcohol.

If imposed, the sugar tax will cause a 65 percent increase on the final retail price of high sugar food items like ice cream, chocolates and carbonated beverages. The revenue collected from sugar tax can be used for the development of health care facilities. It is a win-win combination and will be highly helpful in improving the quality of life of people and helping them stay healthy.

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