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Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes: the Potential for Cardiovascular Health

Abstract

Purpose of Review

Global sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is high, with important implications for cardiovascular health. International momentum with the adoption and implementation of SSB taxes has been mounting in recent years, as has the evidence supporting such a policy for population health. In this review, we summarise the influence of regular SSB consumption on cardiovascular health and provide a global perspective on SSB consumption and SSB tax action and evidence. We further discuss the might and organised opposition of the beverage industry and the policy enablers for affirmative action.

Recent Findings

Compelling evidence demonstrates a link between regular SSB consumption and adverse cardiovascular health. Although global SSB consumption appears to be declining slightly, consumption remains high. Forty-five jurisdictions around the world have now implemented a notable tax on SSBs and consistent evidence demonstrates the effectiveness of this policy at reducing the purchase or consumption of SSBs at the population level. However, the political influence of industry remains a major barrier to further action. Enablers to policy action include the realisation of the revenue-raising potential of taxes, evidence base advocacy framing from trusted sources, broad-based advocacy coalitions and the communication of clear policy objectives.

Summary

SSB taxes represent a promising strategy, alongside a broader comprehensive approach, for improving population diets and cardiovascular health, but face stiff industry opposition. Future research must focus on the influence of different SSB tax designs and context on population diet and health.

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Correspondence to Kathryn Backholer.

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Conflict of Interest

Kathryn Backholer and Phillip Baker declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Cardiovascular Risk Health Policy

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Backholer, K., Baker, P. Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes: the Potential for Cardiovascular Health. Curr Cardiovasc Risk Rep 12, 28 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12170-018-0593-6

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Keywords

  • Sugar-sweetened beverage
  • Fiscal policy
  • Tax
  • Obesity
  • Food policy
  • Global