Stock photo

Editorial: Soda tax works if healthy choices are affordable

Soft drinks and other sugary beverages will be subject to PST starting July 1

A new tax on sugary drinks in British Columbia should make us a little bit healthier as long as we can find other ways to quench our thirst.

In the NDP government’s budget presentation last month, finance minister Carole James revealed that sugary drinks will be subject to PST starting this summer.

She said the tax measure comes in response to repeated recommendations from health experts, including the Medical Services Premium Task Force, and health professionals have since applauded the new tax. The Childhood Obesity Foundation says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity, a leading cause of Type 2 diabetes, and health outcomes have improved in jurisdictions where sugar taxes are levied. Diabetes Canada says a tax is a critical component of a broader strategy to promote healthy eating and drinking and cites research that shows Canadian youths, on average, drink more than half a litre of sugary drinks every day.

The Canadian Taxpayers Association, on the other hand, has said in recent years that sugar taxes don’t achieve desired results, pointing out the junk food has been taxed disproportionately for decades and that obesity rates rise even when soda consumption decreases.

The B.C. government anticipates the new tax generating $27 million in revenue next year, which it says could be invested into health care.

We think it’s hard to imagine that higher-priced sugary drinks wouldn’t have some small but measurable long-term effect on reducing consumption, though cola can be addictive and most people will fork over the extra cents without too much grumbling.

Even with a sin tax, pop is relatively cheap, lower-priced than a lot of healthier beverages the next aisle over. We can nudge people toward those choices, but some of their decision-making is going to come down to other consumer factors such as wages, and affordability of life and grocery bills.

We hope British Columbians fuel their body with what’s good for them, most of the time, and get enough to drink.

READ ALSO: B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

READ ALSO: B.C. adds tax to sweet drinks and sodas



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SD72 receives $2.2-million for capital projects from the province

Approved projects include roof replacements, mechanical upgrades and bus replacements

City of Campbell River opening more public washrooms

It’s also turning on water for community gardens

ICET emergency business relief coming

Two programs will be offered for businesses starting in April

Strathcona Regional District initiative helps get food to the vulnerable

Initiative will help fund set up and operations of services

From inside the ER: B.C. doctor tells it like it is from the frontlines of COVID-19

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

Campbell River community COVID-19 agencies, services and resources list

The list outlines status of social agencies in the community

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

COVID-19: Vancouver Islander celebrates 90th birthday with Model T ride as neighbours line streets

WATCH: Pandemic ruined plans for a party, so Francesca Dawe’s friends got creative

Most Read