RCPI Policy Group on Obesity welcomes announcement of a tax on sugary drinks in Budget 2018

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Prof Donal O’ Shea, Chair of the RCPI Policy Group on Obesity and National Clinical Lead for Obesity says this is a hugely important step towards reducing obesity.

The estimates are that this measure could reduce obesity rates within 5 years by thousands of cases per year. We will have to monitor the impact to ensure maximum effect.

I am relieved and delighted to see the sugar tax get over the line. The Government only have blunt instruments to influence behavioural change - but they simply must use them in the battle against obesity.

Prof Donal O'Shea

Chair, RCPI Policy Group on Obesity

The Government will introduce a tax of 30 cent per litre on drinks with over 8g of sugar per 100ml and a reduced rate of 20 cent per litre on drinks with 5-8g of sugar per 100ml.

Overall the introduction of the sugar tax is a victory for common sense over industry lobbying and a brave step by the Government. It is also important to ensure that adequate provision is made to resource the implementation of the National Obesity Strategy. As part of a suite of measures to address obesity, a tax on sugar sweetened drinks will encourage producers to reduce sugar content in drinks, to market alternatives lower in sugar and to reduce portion sizes for high sugar drinks.

Prof Donal O'Shea

RCPI also welcomes the allocation of an additional 1, 800 frontline staff in the health services and the provision for funding for additional social housing over the next three years and commitment to addressing the homelessness crisis.

This is a significant development, along with the introduction of plain packaging in recent weeks, in reducing smoking rates and achieving the Government’s Healthy Ireland objective of a Tobacco Free Ireland by 2025.

Dr Des Cox

Chair, RCPI Policy Group on Tobacco

Yvonne McCahill

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