Thursday, 13 September 2018

Mexico's sugar tax flop

Who could forget Mexico's sugar tax? Introduced at the start of 2014, it is the jewel in the crown of the growing movement to tax sugary drinks (and 'junk food', which Mexico also taxes). The Lancet describes it as a 'success', as does Bloomberg. A couple of studies have concluded that sugary drink sales fell appreciably after the tax was introduced, although these claims appear to be false

The World Health Organisation didn't wait to see if the taxes on soda and 'junk food' had an effect on obesity before it started campaigning for them. But in 2016, it said...

Mexico’s soda tax has reduced sales of sugar-sweetened beverages. Time will tell whether the tax helps to reduce obesity prevalence as well.

Now the wait is over. The years have passed and the jury is in. As Mexico News Daily reports...

Mexico’s obesity numbers are up nearly 4 million in 4 years to 24.3 million

Close to 4 million adult Mexicans joined the ranks of the obese between 2012 and 2016, a result of food insecurity and undernourishment according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In 2012, 20.5 million adults were considered obese, a figure that has since risen to 24.3 million.

Great success!

No other media outlet has reported these facts and the 'public health' lobby will ignore them. Real world evidence counts for nothing in this racket, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a study published soon claiming that obesity has fallen as a result of the taxes, based on an activist's 'computer model'.

PS. I'm quoted in this Euractiv article about sugar taxes: 

“If taxes on soft drinks were a pharmaceutical drug, they would never be licensed by a medical authority”. “The costs are significant while the benefits are wholly unproven. Soft drink taxes might be a good way to raise revenue and a nice way for politicians to feel that they are doing something, but they do not qualify as an anti-obesity policy. They are remarkably ineffective as a way of getting people to reduce their consumption of sugary drinks.”

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