Sweet Snack Tax Could Further Combat Obesity

I have called for the introduction of a sweet snack tax following the release of UK study showing such a measure could result in a greater overall reduction of sugar consumption than taxing soft drinks alone.

Researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford have estimated the addition of a 10% levy to the price of confectionery, cakes, biscuits and chocolate could lead to a 7% drop in the purchase of such goods.

Moreover the findings of the study revealed that taxing sweet snacks could have an additional knock-on effect on the sale of other sugary foods by consumers.

As I have previously highlighted, the World Health Organisation has predicted Ireland is on course to be one of the fattest nations by 2030. This health epidemic requires an urgent suite of measures in order to tackle it comprehensively.  We are sleepwalking into a major epidemic in Ireland. Obesity levels have been rising consistently and in a few short years we will become one of the heaviest nations in Europe.

Sweet snacks provide twice as much sugar in the diet than sugary drinks. As such, I believe the addition of the levy could tangibly assist in the urgent battle against the bulge.

It’s a great opportunity for us to fight this epidemic. Not only is it a positive step to reduce consumption, but allows us the opportunity to ring fence the resulting revenue to be used to fund other programmes that tackle obesity.

There are children in Ireland today whose lives will be unnecessarily cut short by the effects of obesity. While there is no single panacea to this issue, there are measures we can take, and a multi-faceted approach will ultimately be successful. Ring-fencing the proceeds of the sugar tax should be part of the approach to ensure funding to fight obesity.

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