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Tax on sugary drinks makes society healthier, but also brings economic benefits

Have you ever heard about sugar or soda tax? Many countries around the world, struggling for a healthier society, are thinking about introducing this measure. However, the usual argument is that it would reduce certain health conditions that now are too common, while economic benefit has been unknown. Now scientists determined soda tax in Mexico could around one billion dollars in the next decade.

Sugar-rich drinks have been linked to a variety of health conditions that nowadays are rather common. Image credit: Summi via Wikimedia, Public Domain

Sugar-rich drinks have been linked to a variety of health conditions that nowadays are rather common. Image credit: Summi via Wikimedia, Public Domain

Of course, this tremendous amount of money comes from saving in healthcare system. It may seem like a wild guess, but scientists really did evaluate the results of such tax – 190,000 cases of diabetes, 20,000 heart attacks and strokes, and 19,000 deaths among Mexican adults can be prevented in the next decade. This is extremely hopeful news as this country does suffer from excessive amounts of cases of diabetes and obesity. To address these problems, government decided to introduce a 10 % tax on sugary drinks back in 2014. Although it is only one possible solution Mexico considered, it is now clear that it is also good in terms of economic value.

Scientists say that this change is mostly going to affect younger adults. They consume the biggest amount of sugary drinks and face majority of health problems. Of course, one would say that being concerned about health is the decision each person has to make personally and no policies can implement such mentality. However, sugary drinks have been proven to be directly linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and the obesity epidemic and policy makers have no choice, but to address that. Increasing price of these beverages means that less people are going to drink them, making it a good cause against obesity, Type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.

In fact, people may not imagine how big obesity epidemic is. It doubled in the period between 1980 and 2014 and now more than half a billion adults in the world are obese. Diabetes rates have increased tremendously as well, bearing down on health care systems around the globe. This research shows that such tax allows saving money, which can later be reinvested in other healthy living campaigns or used to absorb the shock if some companies have to close due to this law. Furthermore, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, senior author of the study, said: “Because most of the new cases of diabetes prevented are likely to be in younger adults, the health benefits may extend well into the future”.

Ever so often policy makers have to make some hard decisions in order to change the ways of the society. Mexico’s sugar tax is a good example how a relatively simple measure is making people healthier at the same time benefiting country’s economy.

Source: universityofcalifornia.edu