Health experts call for sugar tax on soft drinks

Health Experts have renewed a call for a sugar tax to be considered.

Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the Heart Foundation want sugar-sweetened drinks such as soft drink to be taxed and regulated the same way tobacco and alcohol is.

It would follow the lead of Mexico, which has recently imposed a 10 per cent “soda” tax.


Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with serious health issues.

“One can of soft drink alone can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar – and many people think it’s acceptable to have one can a day – it isn’t,” Ms Clift said.

“Consuming sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain and obesity, which can lead to some cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart problems.

“Obesity is a growing problem in our state – 65 per cent of Queenslanders are overweight or obese, and alarmingly, 33 per cent don’t even realise it.

“A range of strategies to curb our country’s growing obesity epidemic have been tried in the past – but clearly haven’t worked.

“We need to explore new, innovative options and consider a multi-faceted approach to improve the long-term health of Queenslanders.”

The Courier Mail reports, doctors and researchers believe the tax could save millions of dollars in medical costs. They say reducing sugar consumption can help avert millions of cases of obesity-related illness in the next decade.

Sugar Australia nutritionist Dr Mary Harrington said there was limited evidence to show a sugar tax could reduce obesity.

Other recommendations made by the health groups include restricting marketing sugary drinks to children and reducing the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in children’s settings and workplaces.

Around 14 per cent of Queenslanders admit to consuming non-diet soft drink at least daily, and 16 per cent of children aged 5-17 years consume non-diet soft drink and non-diet flavoured drinks at least once daily.

Cancer Council Queensland recommends Queenslanders limit their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and instead drink water or unflavoured low-fat milk.