Stock photo

Stock photo

Editorial: Soda tax works if healthy choices are affordable

Soft drinks and other sugary beverages will be subject to PST starting July 1

A new tax on sugary drinks in British Columbia should make us a little bit healthier as long as we can find other ways to quench our thirst.

In the NDP government’s budget presentation earlier this month, finance minister Carole James revealed that sugary drinks will be subject to PST starting this summer.

She said the tax measure comes in response to repeated recommendations from health experts, including the Medical Services Premium Task Force, and health professionals have since applauded the new tax. The Childhood Obesity Foundation says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity, a leading cause of Type 2 diabetes, and health outcomes have improved in jurisdictions where sugar taxes are levied. Diabetes Canada says a tax is a critical component of a broader strategy to promote healthy eating and drinking and cites research that shows Canadian youths, on average, drink more than half a litre of sugary drinks every day.

The Canadian Taxpayers Association, on the other hand, has said in recent years that sugar taxes don’t achieve desired results, pointing out the junk food has been taxed disproportionately for decades and that obesity rates rise even when soda consumption decreases.

The B.C. government anticipates the new tax generating $27 million in revenue next year, which it says could be invested into health care.

We think it’s hard to imagine that higher-priced sugary drinks wouldn’t have some small but measurable long-term effect on reducing consumption, though cola can be addictive and most people will fork over the extra cents without too much grumbling.

Even with a sin tax, pop is relatively cheap, lower-priced than a lot of healthier beverages the next aisle over. We can nudge people toward those choices, but some of their decision-making is going to come down to other consumer factors such as wages, and affordability of life and grocery bills.

We hope British Columbians fuel their body with what’s good for them, most of the time, and get enough to drink.

READ ALSO: B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

READ ALSO: B.C. adds tax to sweet drinks and sodas



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Island Health opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

(News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo school district headed toward 26-per cent overcapacity in next 10 years

Using B.C. Assessment and municipal stats, consultant projects more than 18,300 students in 2030

A Nanaimo man is offering a $300 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person who broke into his SUV and stole components from his drone. (News Bulletin file photo)
Drone owner offering reward after components stolen from his vehicle in Nanaimo

Vehicle break-in happened last month on Departure Bay Road

Regenerative farming that meets genuine needs should take priority over commercial recklessness, says columnist. (Stock photo)
Column: Hubris, greed causing humans to live destructively

Placing the economy as the top priority is licence to destroy natural systems, says columnist

Kyle Patrick McGuire was give a nine-month non-custodial sentencing to be followed by two years of probation on Wednesday, March 3, at the Nanaimo Law Courts. (PQB News file photo)
Bowser man sentenced to house arrest after guilty plea to child pornography offence

Nine-month non-custodial sentence to be followed by two years probation

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Most Read