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Sustain / Sugary Drinks Duty / Get the facts

Research - the evidence behind our campaign

Taxation of unhealthy foods: Literature update
UKHF Research & Information Services (2014)
This literature update provides a listing of open access journal literature on taxation of high fat and high sugar food and beverages for the period 2004-2014, and has been compiled by the UK Health Forum Research & Information Services team for the Obesity Learning Centre.

Taxing unhealthy food and drinks to improve health
Mytton et al. (2012) University of Oxford: British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group. Accessed through:
An examination of the present evidence for the introduction of taxes on unhealthy food and drinks. The authors conclude that taxes of at least 20% are likely to shift consumption and improve health.

Food taxes: what type of evidence is available to inform policy development?
Hawkes, C., (2012) British Nutrition Foundation Nutrition Bulletin, 37, pp.51–56
A paper examining the relevance of different types of evidence as information for policy development in the area of food taxes.

Are taxes on fatty foods having their desired effects on health?
Smed, S., & Robertson A. (2012) BMJ 2012, 345: e6885
Insight into the Danish tax on fatty foods and the government’s failure to properly evaluate its effects before it was scrapped.

Could targeted food taxes improve health?
Mytton et al. (2006) J Epidemiol Community Health, 61, pp.689–694
This study aims to examine the effects on nutrition, health and expenditure of extending value added tax (VAT) to a wider range of foods in the UK. Looking at consumption patterns and elasticity data from the National Food Survey of Great Britain it concludes that a carefully targeted fat tax could produce modest but meaningful changes in food consumption and a reduction in cardiovascular disease.

Taxing soft drinks in the Pacific: implementation lessons for improving health
Thow et al., (2010) Health Promotion International, 26(1), pp.55-64
This paper analysed four different soft drink taxes in Pacific countries and documented the lessons learnt regarding the process of policy agenda-setting and implementation.

Sugary Drinks’ Impact on Health

The economic burden of ill health due to diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol and obesity in the UK: an update to 2006–07 NHS costs
Scarborough et al. (2011) Journal of Public Health, Vol. 33(4), pp. 527–535
Provides estimates of the economic cost of risk factors for chronic disease to the NHS and concludes that poor diet is a behavioural risk factor that has the highest impact on the budget of the NHS.

Sweeteners and Risk of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes: The Role of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Malik, V.S., & Hu, F.B., (2012) Curr Diab Rep. Available through:
Collectively sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest contributor to added sugar intake in the US diet and this paper reviews the present research to address the relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and health ailments.

Sugary Drink Consumption

Patterns and trends of beverage consumption among children and adults in Great Britain, 1986–2009
Ng et al. (2012) British Journal of Nutrition, 108(3), pp.536-5
This study examines surveys of both individual dietary intake data and household food expenditure surveys to provide a picture of patterns and trends in beverage intake and purchases in Great Britain from 1986 to 2009, and estimates the potential for pricing policy to promote more healthful beverage purchase patterns. The analysis implies that taxation or other methods of shifting relative costs of these beverages could be a way to improve beverage choices in Great Britain.

Diet Drinks

Diet Soft Drink Consumption is Associated with an Increased Risk of Vascular Events in the Northern Manhattan Study
Gardener et al. (2012) J Gen Intern Med. Vol. 27(9), pp.1120-6
This study aims to determine the association between soft drinks and combined vascular events, including stroke.  It concludes that daily diet soft drink consumption is associated with several vascular risk factors and with an increased risk for vascular events.

Tobacco and Alcohol Taxes

Debate: Tobacco, taxation, and fairness
McLachlan, H.V (2002) J Med Ethics, 28, pp.381–383
The author discusses the fairness of a tax on tobacco and concludes that an excise duty on tobacco is a good tax. It is a non-fair or even an unfair tax but it is justified on grounds other than fairness.


Hypothecated taxation
Seely, A (2011) House of Commons Library: Library Research Paper 10/76
A report that outlines the case for hypothecated taxes and numerous proposals for them.

Hypothecation of tax revenue for health
Doetinchem, 0, (2010) World Health Report, Background Paper No. 51.
A report that articulates the arguments both for and against hypothecated taxes.


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