HEALTH – Sugary drink tax a prevention measure needed in NZ

The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) continues to advocate for a sugary drink tax

Dentists point to US sugary drink tax as prevention measure needed in NZ

The Californian city of Berkeley has now seen a 50% decrease in sugary drink consumption and Kiwi dentists are not surprised.

The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) continues to advocate for a sugary drink tax, which is in line with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

“We have been saying this for a number of years now – a sugary drink tax can reduce consumption – even more specifically we’ve been talking about Berkeley for a couple of years too,” NZDA sugary drinks spokesperson Dr Rob Beaglehole said.

Dr Beaglehole is highlighting that NZDA commented in 2017 on a study in PLOS Medicine journal study showing sales were cut by nearly 10% after the introduction of the sugary drinks tax on 1 March 2015.

“This further drop to 50% shows the impact that a sugary drink tax can have. Prevention is an area that we cannot forget about with oral health, and it is especially important with sugary drinks. As dentists we see first-hand the damage caused to teeth from the over-consumption of sugary drinks,” Dr Beaglehole said.

“By all means a sugary drinks tax is not the only measure, but it would be straightforward to introduce, and all the emerging evidence points toward it having an impact of reducing sugary drink consumption, which long-term can reduce the harm that we are seeing from high-sugar drinks.”