The British city of Brighton and Hove is the first English city to enact a voluntary “sugar tax”.
The local council of the city is calling on food and drink shops to impose a small tax of about 18 cents on all sugary soft drinks. The proceeds will be utilized in a children’s health and food education trust.
The measure is being backed by British celebrity chef and nutrition campaigner Jamie Oliver, who has introduced a similar tax in his own restaurants. Money raised in his restaurants from the tax will be donated to the Children’s health fund.
The city council is also working to ensure that healthy nutritious snacks are available in vending machines across the city. Brighton and Hove also aspires to have food education studies offered in every primary school.
According to studies, Brighton and Hove spends more than $120 million on diet related illnesses every year.
Additionally, more than 7% of four and five year olds and more than 13% of ten and eleven year old in the city were found to be obese.
England maintains one of the highest obesity rates in Europe. Many British citizens eat as much as three times the amount of recommended sugar on a daily basis.
Brighton and Hove director of public health Tom Scanlon said, “Over the years sugar has been creeping into our diet, sometimes in ways we don’t even suspect. We are consuming more sugar than ever before and this is having extremely serious effects on levels of tooth decay, obesity and diabetes.”
Meanwhile, schools in the city are getting in on the health craze. Schools have been limiting sugar, banning and restricting sweets, and offering smaller cartons of fruit juice.
Oliver stated, “This is exactly what we need to try to tackle the rise in obesity and diet-related disease. Today, studies show that one in three of our children are leaving primary school overweight or obese and these children are likely to be the first generation that will have a shorter lifespan than their parents.”
Last month, the British government declined Oliver’s campaign to enact a wider sugar tax across all of Great Britain. His petition had earned more than 146,000 signatures.