OPINION: We need a sugar tax

Across the country, activists are battling to put a cap on obesity and one of their biggest lines of attack is tax on sugary goods. Sodas and other sugary drinks are leading to problems like obesity and diabetes, which drive up health-care costs. So, the drinks should carry a higher tax to keep people from overdrinking, as well as help cover medical costs. It was been named “health impact fee” of 3 cents per ounce on sugar-sweetened sodas and other drinks sold in California.

This will most likely cause uproar with people that enjoy sugary goods, but who says this will stop them from buying them. The fact of the matter is people are going to buy soda and sweets regardless, but the tax could definitely make people question before buying them.

Although this may not stop people from buying the sugary goods it has brought awareness to people because soda has now been linked to diabetes. Once something has a warning sign on it people actually start to act on in and in this case the warning sign is the tax.

“I don’t know if this will eliminate people drinking sugary goods, but it will make me think twice before buying a coke,” said Chelsea Sullins, a Saddleback College student.

In this country the pitch has remained mostly about public health. Other states and cities are trying to get on board with the soda tax. San Francisco last year just missed a needed two-thirds supermajority of votes to pass the tax. A handful of other communities in California have promised to devote the money to community gardens and other healthy initiatives if the tax is past. San Francisco is expected to do the same.

Although the United States may not have the best health care, it does have good business people. Manufactures are smart enough to know that if the sugar tax is raised they will need to start creating products with less sugar that will not be taxed. This will increase the sales of goods that have less sugar and will hopefully create a decrease in obesity.

“I would not be surprised if they made more drinks with less sugar because more people are going to buy something with a lower tax,” said Brody Schilperoort, a student at ASU University.

This country is not the only country that is putting this on their agenda right now. The United Kingdom government announced a new tax on sugary drinks, in an attempt to tackle childhood obesity. This seems to be a trend around different parts of the world, and an important one too.

Anti-sugar campaigners welcomed the news. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver called the step “a profound move that will ripple around the world.” He has been among those lobbying for the sugar tax for several years. He recently has made much effort to get the sugar tax passed and announced on his website that UK Government has said that a sugary drinks tax will be introduced in the UK in 2018.

This is a huge movement for all countries that are passing this tax. It is a shame that it has taken this long for people to realize that these sugary goods are what are causing childhood obesity. Hopefully now parents will give it a second thought before they pay the extra to give their child the chance of getting diabetes. I say why not go after processed foods too.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email