With obesity and diabetes at record levels, many public health experts believe governments should tax soda, sweets, junk food, and other unhealthy foods and drinks. Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, and Mexico have such taxes.
Sugar in foods and drinks contributes to obesity, diabetes, and other conditions. By increasing the price of products that contain sugar, taxes can get people to consume less of them and thus improve nutrition and health. Health care costs would be lower, and people would live healthier, longer lives. Governments could put the resulting revenue to good use, perhaps by helping low-income families or cutting other taxes.
That’s the pro case for a sugar tax, and it’s a good one. But policymakers need to consider the downsides too. Taxes impose real costs on consumers who pay the tax or switch to other options that may be more expensive, less enjoyable, or less convenient.
I Word Understanding
Revenue – revenue is the amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period
Low-income – the state of being poor; lack of the means of providing material needs or comforts.
Downside – disadvantage
Switch – change the position
II Have your say
- Do such taxes make sense?
- What is the downside of fat tax?
Fat Tax – that is placed upon fattening food, beverages or on overweight individuals.
Sugar Tax – the move has been hailed by campaigners as a significant step in the fight against child obesity.
Here are countries that introduced policies on unhealthy habits.
Japan implemented a measurement of waist sizes in 2008.
Denmark introduced a fat tax on butter, milk, cheese, pizza, meat, oil and processed food if the item contains more than 2.3% saturated fat.
Mexican government made calorie tax- the objective of reducing consumption of food and non-alcoholic beverages allegedly associated with overweight and obesity.