Will introducing a sugary drinks tax influence consumer behaviour?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) have recently re-visited this controversial topic, suggesting that all governments should implement a sugary drinks tax to fight the growing epidemic that is obesity and diabetes. They found that a 20 percent increase in prices could result in similar rates of decreased consumption of sugary drinks. With more than 500 million people worldwide classified as obese, what can be done to help curb the trend?
The estimated savings in Australia if the tax was in place include 4,400 fewer cases of cardiovascular disease, 1,100 fewer strokes, 1,600 deaths avoided and savings of up to $609 million. Mexico has implemented the sugar tax back in 2014 with some success. There has now been a decrease of 12 percent in sales of sugary drinks since the implementation, with obesity rates decreasing by close to 1 percent. It is now estimated that people in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East need to halve their sugar consumption.
The question is, will this help lower consumption? The WHO report also suggests for Governments should also subside fruit and vegetables to increase consumption. It's a debatable topic, with many varying opinions about whether a tax should be or shouldn't be utilized. One thing is for certain, something needs to be done to change the landscape- obesity and diabetes rates are increasing rapidly worldwide. Whether a tax will be the answer? Time will only tell.
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