IPH welcomes the announcement of a tax on sugar sweetened drinks (SSDs) in the Republic of Ireland in Budget 2018. This announcement was timely, occurring a day before World Obesity Day 11 October.
IPH completed a Health Impact Assessment on a proposed SSD tax in 2012. IPH also submitted responses to consultations on the introduction of such a tax in Ireland and in the UK. Earlier this year, the UK government granted final approval for taxation on sugar sweetened beverages - formally known as the Soft Drinks Industry Levy – which will also apply from April 2018.
A tax on sugar sweetened drinks is to be introduced on 1 April 2018. The tax will apply to sugar sweetened drinks with a sugar content between 5 grams and 8 grams per 100ml at a rate of 20c per litre. A second rate will apply for drinks with a sugar content of 8 grams or above at 30c per litre. Reducing current high consumption of empty calorie SSDs which are of no nutritional benefit is an important step in lowering current obesity rates.
Over the last 5 years IPH work has been looking at consumption of Sugar Sweetened Drinks (SSDs) across the island of Ireland and highlighted the following data:
Republic of Ireland
The 2015 Healthy Ireland Survey reveals some important evidence about SSD consumption in the Republic of Ireland:
• Over one-third of 15-24 year olds, and over one quarter of 25-44 year olds, drink SSDs at least once a day or most days of the week;
• 58% of all those aged 15 and over consume SSDs, and over a fifth consume SSDs most days of the week or daily;
• 86% of 15-24 year olds and 68% of 25-44 year olds drink SSDs.
IPH analysis of data provided for 13 year olds in Growing Up in Ireland (2011) reveals high levels of SSD consumption:
• Almost half of 13 year olds (47%) consumed SSDs in the previous 24 hours – 53% of boys and 42% of girls;
• While 18% consumed SSDs more than once during that period.
The 2014-2015 Health Survey Northern Ireland reveals some important evidence about the consumption of sugar sweetened drinks in Northern Ireland:
• One third of 11-16 year olds consume SSDs at least once a day
• Three in ten adults consume SSDs most days of the week or daily
• Half of all 16-24 year olds consume SSDs most days of the week or more often
• Boys and men of all ages consume a greater volume of SSDs at a greater frequency than girls and women
Northern Ireland data – which mirrors the figures for the Republic of Ireland – reveals that:
• 60% of adults age 16 and over are overweight or obese (35% overweight and 25% obese);
• While 21% of children are overweight and 7% obese.
Access further IPH resources
IPH consultation response to a Department of Finance (RoI) consultation on the sugar sweetened drinks tax (Jan 2017)
IPH response to HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs Soft Drinks Industry Levy Consultation (Oct 2016)