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Mexican sugar tax is the real thing

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Mexico’s sugar tax is responsible for a fall in consumption of pop drinks for the second year running.

More than 70 per cent of Mexico’s population is overweight or obese and Coca-Cola is embedded in the national culture (former Mexican president Vincente Fox was the regional boss of the company).

A 1 peso tax on sugary drinks was introduced on 1 July 2014. The 12 months following its introduction marked a 5.5 per cent decline in sugar-sweetened beverages.

This has been followed by a 9.7 per cent drop in the second year.

The University of North Carolina conducted a study at the Gillings School of Global Health and the Mexican Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública (National Institute of Public Health).

It found the average drop of sugary-drink sales over the two-year period was 7.6 per cent, but the tax’s biggest impact was on the poorest areas, where the decline in sales was 18.8ml per person the first year and 29.3ml per person in the second.

The sale of untaxed drinks in Mexico went up by an average 2 per cent over the two years. There is an increase in the production of still bottled water in Mexico two years after the sugar tax was introduced.

Nations around the world are closely watching the Mexican example and the impact the sugar tax has on consumers’ buying habits and their health.

Chris Johnson