14 teaspoons of sugar make the medicine go down. Or rather, 14 teaspoons of sugar is roughly what a 500ml bottle of fizzy drink contains, and it’s rotting the teeth of the nation, and turning us all obese. This is what a team of Reading and Oxford University researchers have found, in the most detailed study yet on sugary drinks and their effect on health.
In a study that will be ignored by a sizeable chunk of the population this lunchtime, the doctors calculated that adding a 20 per cent sin tax on fizzy drinks – about 12p more – would lead to a drop-off in purchases, which would itself stop between 110,000 and 250,000 people becoming obese. Plus, the tax itself could raise the Treasury £275m.
One of the researchers said: “Such a tax is not going to solve obesity by itself, but we have shown it could be an effective public health measure and should be considered alongside other measures to tackle obesity in the UK.”
However others argue that the tax would hit the young and poor disproportionately at a time when bills are already rising, and that demonising one product among many, many sugary delicious treats would hardly be enough to stem bulging waistlines.
Where do you stand? Should we tax for the nation’s health? Or stand aside for its pleasure?