Publication: Taxes on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Summary of International Evidence and Experiences

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This evidence review is designed to support policy makers seeking to implement a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). It synthesizes the latest global evidence of effectiveness of SSB taxes and summarizes international experiences with SSB taxation to-date. SSBs are non-alcoholic beverages that contain added caloric sweeteners, such as sucrose (sugar) or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The main categories of SSBs are carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, less than 100 percent fruit or vegetable juices, ready-to-drink teas and coffees, sweetened waters, and milk-based drinks. SSBs are easily consumed in excess and contribute significantly to sugar and energy intakes around the world without adding any nutritional value to diets. A person consuming one SSB per day can easily exceed the WHO’s guideline to limit free sugars to less than 10 percent (and ideally less than 5 percent) of total daily energy intake, and is at elevated risk of a range of adverse health effects including tooth decay, excess weight gain, and increased risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes. Although they are not the only component of diets linked to obesity and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), the burden of disease attributable to SSBs is considerable given that they are a single, entirely discretionary (nonessential) component of the diet. From a public health perspective, taxation of SSBs is internationally recommended as a priority component of a comprehensive approach to preventing and controlling obesity and diet related NCDs.
World Bank. 2020. Taxes on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages; Taxes on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages : Summary of International Evidence and Experiences. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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