Do We Need a Sugar Tax?

September 12, 2021
Avatar for Kelley MingusKelley Mingus

“Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes.” So said Christopher Bullock, way back in 1716 in The Cobbler of Preston. The same thing rings true today. We have taxes on all sorts of things these days, including in some areas, on sugar. The United Kingdom, for example, has a tax on sugary drinks like soda. The same type of tax exists here in the United States, too, in cities like San Francisco and Philadelphia. But are these taxes a good idea?

While some have argued that taxes like sugar and cigarette taxes just hurt consumers, believe it or not, they were designed to do just the opposite. Taxes on sugar are actually designed to make consumers think twice about their dietary choices, and if possible, choose something with less sugar. This in turn encourages healthier eating, which has many benefits.

Sugary drinks not only create a burst and then crash of energy, but they also contribute to obesity and diabetes, not to mention oral health problems like cancer and gum disease.

In the United Kingdom, drink manufacturers have risen to the challenge of the sugar tax by getting creative and lowering the sugar content in many popular beverages. This allows consumers to enjoy their favorite drinks in a healthier form, and save money on the drink tax. While it may seem like there’s opposition to this type of tax, the opposite seems to be holding true. According to a recent survey of United Kingdom residents, over 60% would favor expanding the sugar tax to include more beverages, including fruit juice, smoothies, and milkshakes.

So, should we adopt a sugar tax here in the United States? Some may argue that we don’t need another tax, but seeing how beneficial it has been in the cities here in the United States that have adopted it as well as in the United Kingdom, it makes a great deal of sense. It would encourage better dietary habits, and it would encourage drink manufacturers to look at the content of their drinks and decide whether they really need that much sugar.

A sugar tax is just one idea for helping reduce our sugar intake and protecting our teeth. If you can’t give up your sugary drinks, make sure to rinse your mouth with water after drinking them, and brush frequently to get the sugar off your teeth.