Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Sugar tax would cut soda guzzling

Published:Wednesday | March 22, 2017 | 12:00 AM


The PNP Patriots' proposal to replace the proposed tax on health insurance with a tax on sweetened beverages is an excellent one.

It is in line with the World Health Organization's (WHO) support of a sugar tax on soft drinks. A recent WHO report found that raising prices by 20 per cent or more results in lower consumption and improved nutrition.

The March 18, 2016 London Guardian points out that the almost-constant hikes in the cost of tobacco over the last 15-20 years have helped bring down smoking rates, and hence health costs, dramatically. Sugar taxes would likely produce a similar effect.

Economist Dennis Jones also suggested this policy in a recent article.

"Many jurisdictions have already tried to do this with taxes on sugary drinks: Denmark has had such a tax in place since the 1930s. ... So, why should Jamaica's finance ministry not make a calculation of what a 20 percent increase would yield, assuming that we got a proportionate reduction in consumption?" https://jamaica

If the government is truly interested in the long-term health of Jamaicans, it should not hesitate to join the forces of enlightenment. A sugar-drinks tax would both be good politics and good policy.