A tax on sugary drinks could save lives and reduce New Zealand’s obesity burden, new research shows.
Research published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal shows a 20 per cent tax on sugary soft drinks would prevent 67 deaths from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and diet-related cancers per year.
Its author, Professor Tony Blakely, of the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, said a tax on sugary drinks would be a simple and smart move to fight obesity and related illnesses.
“If you’re thinking of one tax or subsidy on food, then this is [it],” Blakely said.
No it isn’t. The fax tax introduced in Denmark was a disaster and was scrapped.
3 News reports:
Should fizzy drinks be banned? And should there be a fizzy drink tax? Next week a conference of public health specialists in Auckland will meet to discuss these questions.
They claim it will save lives, curb obesity, diabetes, risk of stroke, cancers, and several other health issues.
The American Heart Association say that the upper limit of sugar we should get each day is three teaspoons for children, six for women and nine for men, but New Zealand data suggests we get three times that amount, ingesting 30 teaspoons a day.
Public health specialist Simon Thornley recently took a visit to Rangitoto College to see what was on the menu at the school canteen these days.
To Mr Thornley, this love affair with sugar is a full blown addiction, complete with binges, requiring increasing doses for satisfaction and finally withdrawal when we kick the habit.
He wants a sugar tax and restrictions on sale, just like tobacco, starting with a ban on sugary drinks and food in schools.
There is no end to the ambitions of these campaigners. It starts with tobacco, then it’s alcohol, then it is fast food, then it is soft drinks then it is probably chocolate – they want it taxed, restricted, not advertised and then banned. They do not think we should be allowed to make choices.
There is nothing wrong with having a coke, occassionally. Personally I almost exclusively drink the diet or zero versions because of the calories in the full versions – but that is my choice. Almost every food and drink has some calories in it. Apple juice does. No food is universally good or bad. It is all about frequency and portion size. Taxes and bans punish everyone.