Public health and taxing sugary drinks

 

A chara, – Colm Jordan, director of the Irish Beverage Council, disputes the value of a sugar-sweetened drinks tax, labelling it “poorly targeted, inefficient and inequitable” (December 27th).

A recent report from the World Health Organization, Fiscal Policies for Diet and the Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases (2016), showed that the evidence was strong and consistent for the effectiveness of such taxes in the range of 20–50 per cent in reducing consumption. It added that “the beverage industry will do everything it can to avoid taxes, using the same well-financed – and well-recognised – scare tactics used by the tobacco industry”. – Is mise,

Dr WALTER GOE,

Dublin 6.

Sir, – I would agree with the last paragraph of Colm Jordan’s letter that “obesity is a complex problem and needs a multi-stakeholder approach”.

But I propose that the tax on soft drinks would be an important strand of that approach.

We need to take a step-by-step approach to complex issues but we do need to take each step.

The smoking ban did not by itself solve all the problems of smoking but it was a clear and concrete step toward a solution.

The proposed sugar tax, like the smoking ban, gives a clear public commitment of Government intent and is a necessary and important part of the campaign to tackle obesity. – Yours, etc,

MARIE HUMPHRIES,

Drumcondra,

Dublin 9.