PARIS — Sugar should be identified alongside alcohol and tobacco as a health danger, and governments should tax sweetened drinks and food as part of their efforts to combat it.
So says a commentary, published on Thursday in the journal Nature as part of a widening debate among doctors and policymakers about food fiscality and health
Around 35 million people die each year of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes and a wave of obesity is unfurling from rich countries to developing economies, say three US academics who authored the piece.
Tobacco and alcohol are already regulated by governments to protect public health, “but one of the primary culprits behind this worldwide health crisis (is) unchecked,” they say.
A levy on added sugars would help meet the growing costs of meeting sugar-related health problems and discourage consumption, they suggest.
Take that, doubters! Taxes can manage negative externalities! And apparently, the United States is on board.
In the United States, the government is currently considering a soda tax that would raise the price of a can of fizzy drink by around 10-12 US cents, bringing in some 14 billion dollars a year of revenue.