Sugar tax will be worth it, for health alone
Published 15/10/2016 | 00:00
One expected tax that is likely to be introduced in this week's budget is a sugar tax, and not before time.
None of us need another tax in our lives, but if it is health-promoting then it's not a bad thing.
When it comes to sugar, alcohol or cigarettes, the only way to effectively reduce consumption is to hit people in the pocket.
It is the only way to have a direct impact on the amount that people purchase and consume. Education alone just isn't making a difference to a harder approach is needed, for the health of the country. Many people still don't equate a can of Coke with the high sugar levels within.
It is the same as loading seven or eight spoonfuls of sugar into a cup of tea of coffee, but as it is hidden, consumers can rest easy in their blissful ignorance. Somehow, it seems more natural to slug back a can of fizzy drink than to load a cup of tea. And as for the 'diet' versions, God knows what nasty chemicals lurk within.
Fizzy drinks in particular are a massive contributor to obesity and it is time that something is done to tackle the sugar levels in these toxic treats. Moderation is all well and good, except for the fact that most people who enjoy fizzy drinks, do so on a daily basis - and many of these are in the 15-24 age group, 36 per cent in fact.
Young people are particularly at risk here, as once a habit is formed, it is very difficult to break and year after year, they put on more and more weight until they are at risk of diabetes, heart disease and other weight-related conditions.
There are many, many people in Ireland who consume litres of fizzy drinks every day, unaware of the dangerously high levels of sugar they are ingesting, and if they were to see the quantity spooned out, they would never dream of touching it.
According to experts, Ireland is in line to become one of the fattest nations in the world by 2030 if swift action is not taken.
Already, one in four Irish children are overweight or obese and this problem won't rectify itself. A detailed and targeted strategy must be taken to get us back on track and to drive home the message of just how damaging sugary treats are.
Even though there was talk of a sugar tax being introduced after 2018, calls have been made for it to happen sooner with 54 per cent of people in favour of it. It makes sense - so why wait?