Lifestyle Economics

Sugar taxes have not reduced obesity rates anywhere in the world


Lifestyle Economics

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Government and Institutions

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The sugar levy is a cynical revenue raising device

Ahead of the sugar levy taking effect in the UK, Christopher Snowdon of the Institute of Economic Affairs says:

“Many countries have tried taxing soft drinks and none of them has seen a decline in obesity. The UK will be no different. The sugar levy is a cynical revenue raising device that will clobber people on low incomes.

“The British public are being treated like children. Thanks to the sugar levy, several iconic brands – including Ribena, Irn-Bru and Lucozade – have effectively been discontinued. The artificially sweetened forgeries that have replaced them are extraordinarily unpopular with consumers. Millions of people are having their choices restricted by a bossy government in thrall to the fanatical ‘public health’ lobby.

“Unless reason prevails, this will only be the start of tobacco-style regulation of the food supply. The inevitable failure of the sugar tax will be followed by more taxes, more bans and more unwanted reformulation.”

Notes to Editors: 

For media enquiries please contact Stephanie Lis, Director of Communications: or 0207 799 8909 or 07766 221 268

There is no correlation between sugary drink consumption and obesity. Per capita consumption of sugary drinks fell by 45 per cent between 2003 and 2015 while obesity rose from 23% to 26%.

IEA briefings:

To download the Sugar Levy, click here

To download Sugar Taxes, click here.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems and seeks to provide analysis in order to improve the public understanding of economics.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.

Further IEA Reading: Sugar taxes: A briefing

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