AMA prosecutes case for tax on sugar in soft drinks

Australian Medical Association

The AMA’s #SicklySweet campaign entered a new phase this week with stronger calls for a tax on sugary drinks.

The AMA has brought its call for a tax on sugar in soft drinks to the attention of politicians, public and the media over the past week.

President Dr Omar Khorshid told Australia the AMA had a tax on sugar in soft drinks in its sights when he launched the AMA’s vision for Australian’s health at the National Press Club in June last year.

The AMA launched its #SicklySweet campaign in January this year highlighting the dangers of too much sugar in soft drinks. The initial phase of the campaign was aimed at consumers with playful social media posts and website mimicking the slick visual stylings of soft drink advertisements. This latest phase of the campaign focuses on the economic and preventative health benefits of a tax on sugary drinks.

Dr Khorshid last week said: “Introducing a tax on sugary soft-drinks is a win-win-win. It raises revenue for public health; saves money in the health budget and saves lives. It’s a simple but effective mechanism and we will continue to campaign for its introduction.”

ABC radio carried the story in its news bulletins over the weekend.

Australian Community Media (ACM), which is the owner of mastheads such as The Canberra Times and Newcastle Herald and over sixty regional media platforms, also sent the story far and wide into regional Australia.

In an opinion piece published in ACM papers on Monday Dr Khorshid said in three years Australia will reach a grim milestone when it’s projected a third of adults will be clinically obese.

“Our modelling projects a tax of 40 cents on every 100 grams of sugar added to soft drinks would reduce consumption by 31 per cent by 2025-26, and result in government revenue of $2.8 billion across four years, which could be used for further preventative health activities,” he said.

Dr Khorshid reiterated the need for a tax on sugary drinks in a pre-budget interview on Sky News on Tuesday.

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