The Sugar-Sweetened Drinks Tax in Ireland has commenced today, May 01 2018 – the same tax recently commenced in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK on April 06 (known as the Soft Drinks Industry Levy). The tax will apply to sugar sweetened drinks with sugar content of 5 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 SSDs which are of no nutritional benefit is an important step in lowering excess sugar consumption and addressing obesity rates among both children and adults.
The Healthy Ireland 2017 Survey found that almost 1 in 6 people (ages 15+) drink sugar sweetened drinks on a daily basis, with 38% doing so at least once a week. In Northern Ireland, 1/3 of 11-16 year olds consume SSD’s at least once a day with 28% of all persons (16+) consuming SSD’s most days or more.
The Northern Ireland Audit Office released a report recently, highlighting the rising type 2 diabetes prevalence across NI. The report identifies current progress and future challenges in terms of preventing and treating type 2 diabetes. To view the Northern Ireland framework on tackling obesity, see A Fitter Future for All.
IPH work on SSD taxation:
IPH completed a Health Impact Assessment on a proposed SSD tax in 2012.
In 2016 at the IPH annual all-island conference, members of the IPH policy team presented analysis of sugar sweetened drinks and obesity patterns across the island of Ireland.
IPH is a member of the DoH (NI) Regional Obesity Prevention Implementation Group and contributes to the bi-annual meetings and provides input into relevant activities outlined in ROPIG Action Plan.
In 2017, IPH lead on Work Package 4 of the EU Joint Action on Physical Activity and Nutrition (JANPA) which estimated lifetime cost of childhood obesity. IPH Director of Research and information, Professor Kevin Balanda, presented some findings from Work Package 4 at the final conference in Paris on 24 November 2017. This presentation can be found here.