Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has said the high level of public support for a sugar tax shows that it is time for us to reconsidering introducing the measure in a bid to curb childhood obesity.
“With more than half of the public in favour of a 20% tax on sugary drinks, as revealed in the Irish Heart Foundation’s survey, it’s clearly time for us to seriously reconsider introducing the measure to help combat childhood obesity.
“It’s estimated that the tax could raise €60 million per year for the exchequer, so it makes both dietary and financial sense. The public aren’t usually in favour of any new taxes, so their support for a sugar tax shows there is a recognition that we need to do more about our obesity problem.
“High sugar drinks contain hundreds of hidden calories, and they are playing a major role our obesity epidemic. Ireland ranks fifth in Europe for obesity among young women. More than 26% of girls and 16% of boys under 20 are now considered obese. We cannot ignore these rising figures.
“We are used to the idea of using cost as a disincentive to smoking. So if we are prepared to hike up tax on cigarettes to try to discourage people from taking up the lethal habit, then why shouldn’t we add a 20% tax on sugar drinks to help dissuade people from buying them?
“Our next generation is facing an obesity epidemic. A sugar tax would be a simple way to discourage people from buying high sugar drinks, while providing revenue for other anti-obesity measures.”