Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) Makes Case for Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages to Curb Diabetes

The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) wants the government to take a cue from countries such as Mexico and France and levy a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The Association has cited several recent studies evidencing the direct link between such beverages and diabetes. Representatives of the CDA said that a tax would deter consumers from purchasing sugar-sweetened beverages and thus curb the soaring number of diabetes cases reported in Canada.

To build a case for the imposition of a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks such as sports drinks, colas, soda, and other fruit flavored drinks, the CDA cited the example of other countries such as Mexico, France, Finland, and Hungary that have taken a concrete step in this direction. In its appeal, the CDA stated the example of Mexico, where a 10% tax has been levied on beverages containing sugar. Since the nationwide tax was imposed in January 2014, Mexico has reported a 6% dip in purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages. This has inspired confidence in the CDA about the efficacy of a tax on beverages that contain loads of sugar.

The CDA states that besides containing damagingly high levels of sugar, several beverages on the market today are poor in other nutrients. As a result, they do more harm than good to consumers. Interestingly, it is not just Mexico that has seen positive results in deterring consumers from buying high-sugar beverages. France saw a 3.1% decline in purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages whereas Hungary reported an impressive 6% decline in the same. Finland, on the other hand, reported a 3.1% dip in beverages sweetened by adding sugar.

However, the stand of Canadian government officials on such a campaign is not yet clear. As the campaign develops over the coming weeks, it will become evident whether the Canadian government is willing to consider imposing a tax on sweetened beverages. But one this is clear: Considering that about 10 million Canadians are diabetic, translating to healthcare costs of about 14 billion dollars, the government will have to answer a barrage of questions if it decides against enforcing such a tax.


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