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Can we tax sugar out of use?

sugar lips addictIt’s a hard argument. Tax has been used as one of the few methods to reduce use of drugs like cigarettes and liquor. And yes, there is some evidence that taxation works in this way. So would it work with sugar?

It appears that experts and campaign groups alike do believe a tax on sugar would be a good idea with regard to the obesity crisis, but are concerned that the government won’t support or implement it. 

Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at the Wolfston Institute of Preventative Medicine, spoke recently about the positive impact taxing sugary drinks in France has had, and also mentioned that Mexico has now imposed a sugar tax.  He is adamant that “…duties work…If you look at cigarettes, look at alcohol, the higher the tax, the lower the consumption.” 

However, Barbara Gallani, director of regulatory affairs, science and health at the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), doesn’t share MacGregor’s pro-tax views.  In her opinion, taxes in other countries “…have not been particularly succesful…the food industry has successfully bought down salt content in foods…and is willing to make a difference.”  For us, the best approach to tackling the obesity epidemic is an educational one, replacing the present wrong-headed official advice with health information that works.  

What do you think? What sort of increase in price of sugar would reduce your addiction?

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