Should we have a sugar tax?

To help Singaporeans cut down on their intake of sugar, the media reported that the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) will be conducting a public consultation on a few proposed measures to reduce our sugar intake.

For a start, the government plans to tax only target pre-packaged drinks – meaning those that comes in a bottle, can or packet; aka your Pepsi and Coca-Cola lor.

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Heng ah, lucky our favourite Bubble Tea not affected (for now). But, why does the government wanna kajiao us with how much sugar we wanna take?

Because we Singaporeans are consuming too much sugar which will eventually lead to diabetes and obesity. MOH said that Singaporeans are consuming on average 12 teaspoons of sugar daily, and more than half of Singaporeans’ daily sugar intake comes from sugar-sweetened drinks.

Out of this half, pre-packaged drinks make up 64 per cent. So, unlike your Bubble Tea and Kopi, where you decide the level of sugar you want to add, the pre-packaged drinks seemed more deadly unhealthy.

And considering that Singapore has the highest prevalence of diabetes among developed nations, and almost 1 in 9 persons has diabetes, we better do something before it is too late.

So MOH proposes the following measures to help us reduce our sugar intake for pre-packaged drinks:

1. Ban the sale of the higher sugar content packet and canned drinks

Not everything la, only those that contained 5.5 teaspoons of sugar per 250ml serving. Don’t bother measuring la, you probably can’t find the drink if it is really banned. 

2. Tax the manufacturers and importers

Well, it is meant to encourage the industry to reformulate and reduce sugar content in their products. MOH said that it could be a flat tax or tiered tax. Flat tax would mean imposing the same rate for all the drinks that “buay pass”. Tiered tax would mean drinks with lower sugar levels gets less heavily taxed. 

A bit stupid to think that the tax will not be passed on to consumers la. But if it really results in higher prices for consumers, then either you pay, choose something with lesser sugar, or LL and just drink water lor.

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3. Limit or ban the advertising of less healthy food and drinks to children

Ultimately, it’s to reduce our children’s sugar consumption. This includes making the current advertising restrictions on specific television time-belts compulsory. In short, “see no sugar, crave no sugar, drink no sugar”. 

4. Mandatory nutritional label on packet and canned drinks

This means having a nutrition label on the front of the packet/canned drink to help consumers make healthier choices. The labels can mark out the full range of sugar-ed sweetened drinks, from healthy to the less healthy ones. 

Don’t say never tell you ah, drink at your own risk! 

Btw, NOTHING is cast in stone now. MOH said that the four measures are not mutually exclusive. So they could be implemented in different combinations, or maybe none could be implemented depending on public feedback.

Seems like the War on Diabetes is not over. If you Buay Song on the measures, better make your views heard by 25 Jan 2019 via the REACH website – remember not to “sugar-coat” your feedback; just give it straight up to the government! If not, don’t KPKB after it is implemented k.