Taxing sugar-sweetened beverages increase stigma for low-income groups, Aboriginal peoples

March 19, 2018, Canadian Medical Association Journal

When considering taxing sugar-sweetened beverages in Canada, policy-makers should look at lessons learned from tobacco taxation, especially how taxation could increase inequalities and stigma, argues an analysis in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal)

"Proponents of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages are quick to emphasize positive aspects of a tobacco tax; however, a thorough comparison analysis reveals other lessons about exacerbation of inequity and stigma, including racial stigma, in already-marginalized populations," writes Natalie Riediger, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, with Andrea Bombak, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

The authors look at the issues around taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages through a social justice lens.

"Many public health policies can have unintended consequences for some groups and it is important to consider this when implementing new policies," they write.

People of low and Aboriginal populations in Canada consume more sugar-sweetened beverages than the general population and have higher rates of obesity and diabetes.

"For taxation of sugar-sweetened beverages to be effective as a measure of population health, it must affect consumption in these populations."

The authors suggest that taxing only certain sugar-sweetened beverages, namely soft drinks, may heighten stigma around obesity and further isolate marginalized people. Sweetened coffee drinks, which are mainly consumed in areas where people of higher socioeconomic status live or work, are not being recommended for taxation, despite their increasing consumption.

"A sweetened beverage tax aimed only at regular soft drinks may carry classist and racist overtones that could exacerbate stigma directed at already-marginalized groups," write the authors. "In other words, economically advantaged people may continue to drink their frappuccino, untaxed, while less wealthy people are taxed for their cola, despite similar added sugar content."

Taxing soda could also affect relations with Aboriginal peoples who live on reserves where there are long-term water advisories because of unsafe supply. Many in these situations rely on for hydration.

The authors urge involvement of Aboriginal peoples in developing policies around .

"Sugar-sweetened beverages as the new tobacco: examining a proposed tax policy through a Canadian social justice lens" is published March 19, 2018.

Explore further: Sugary drinks more affordable across the globe

More information: Natalie D. Riediger et al. Sugar-sweetened beverages as the new tobacco: examining a proposed tax policy through a Canadian social justice lens, Canadian Medical Association Journal (2018). DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.170379

Related Stories

Sugary drinks more affordable across the globe

May 4, 2017
(HealthDay)—Sugar-sweetened beverages have become more affordable worldwide, making the fight against obesity even more difficult, a new study suggests.

Banning sugar-sweetened beverages in schools does not reduce consumption: study

November 7, 2011
State policies banning all sugar-sweetened beverages in schools are associated with reduced in-school access and purchase of these beverages, however these policies are not associated with a reduction in overall consumption ...

One or more soda a day could decrease chances of getting pregnant

February 13, 2018
The amount of added sugar in the American diet has increased dramatically over the last 50 years. Much of that increase comes from higher intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, which constitute approximately one-third of the ...

Sugar-sweetened drinks raise risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome

November 2, 2017
Regularly drinking sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda and juice contributes to the development of diabetes, high blood pressure and other endemic health problems, according to a review of epidemiological studies published ...

Prenatal, early life fructose intake associated with asthma

February 9, 2018
(HealthDay)—Maternal prenatal and early childhood intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and fructose is associated with current asthma in midchildhood, regardless of adiposity, according to a study published in the Annals ...

Sugar-sweetened drink tax tied to sustained drop in purchase

February 28, 2017
(HealthDay)—Implementation of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with a sustained reduction in purchases of taxed beverages, according to a study published online Feb. 22 in Health Affairs.

Recommended for you

Get a grip: What your hand strength says about your marriage prospects and mortality

April 26, 2018
Researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the Columbia Aging Center found men with a stronger grip were more likely to be married than men with weaker grips. Grip strength was not a factor in ...

Taxing sweet snacks may bring greater health benefits than taxing sugar-sweetened drinks

April 26, 2018
Taxing sweet snacks could lead to broader reductions in the amount of sugar purchased than similar increases in the price of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), according to new research published in BMJ Open.

Community efforts to prevent teen problems have lasting benefits

April 26, 2018
Want to prevent kids from using drugs and make it stick into young adulthood? Get the community involved and intervene before they're teens, say researchers from the University of Washington.

Hearing aids linked to fewer hospital and ER visits by older adults

April 26, 2018
They cost thousands of dollars, and insurance almost never covers them. But hearing aids may hold the potential to cut older adults' visits to the hospital or emergency room, according to a new study.

Consuming protein supplements with meals may work better for weight control

April 25, 2018
A new systematic review of available evidence appearing in Nutrition Reviews indicates that consuming protein supplements with meals may be more effective at promoting weight control than consuming supplements between meals ...

Hair products for Black women contain mix of hazardous ingredients

April 25, 2018
A new report published today in the journal Environmental Research shows that Black women are potentially exposed to dozens of hazardous chemicals through the hair products they use.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.