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Report: Sugar Taxes Have NO Impact On Obesity, Just Hurt The Poor

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation
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Sugar taxes are totally ineffective in combating obesity, according to a new report from the United Kingdom’s Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA).

The U.K. announced it would introduce a sugar tax back in March. Philadelphia, Penn., is in the middle of a furious debate over whether to slap a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on soda. (RELATED: Union Bosses Trade Blows Over Philly Soda Tax)

TPA urged the British government to drop the sugar tax in light of new research revealing it would hardly make a difference to people’s calorie consumption.

Mexico has had a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks since 2014, but the subsequent drop in soda consumption was “nothing compared to the drop in calories people needed to consume in order to not be obese.”

Using three studies, TPA estimates how much consumption of sugary products would drop if the tax had the same impact in Britain as it did in Mexico. The report finds British calorie intake would fall by just 4.6 calories.

That’s equivalent to just 2.3 percent of a can of Heinz Tomato Soup and represents a fall of 0.18 percent of a man’s recommended daily calorie allowance and 0.23 percent of a woman’s recommended allowance.

“It is astonishing that the government is pressing ahead with this pernicious tax when the evidence clearly suggests that it will simply not affect consumption in any meaningful way,” said Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of TPA. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Is Right, Soda Taxes Hit The Poor Hardest)

“As with any regressive tax, this will only raise living costs for hard-pressed families, already struggling with big tax bills. Politicians must look at the evidence and ignore the High Priests of the Nanny State in the public health lobby, and abolish the Sugar Tax before it is too late.”

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