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Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Will Generate Health Gains

Volume tax would prevent 850,000 CVD and 269,000 diabetes cases, save $53.2 billion in net costs

MONDAY, June 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Sugar-sweetened beverage tax designs are expected to generate substantial health gains and cost savings, according to a study published online June 22 in Circulation.

Yujin Lee, Ph.D., from Tufts University in Boston, and colleagues estimated incremental changes in diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease, quality-adjusted life-years, costs, and cost-effectiveness of three sugar-sweetened beverage tax designs in the United States. The tax designs were based on volume, tiers, and absolute sugar content, each compared to a base case of modest ongoing voluntary industry reformulation.

The researchers found that the volume, tiered, and absolute sugar content taxes would generate $80.4 billion, $142 billion, and $41.7 billion, respectively, in tax revenue over a lifetime. From a health care perspective, 850,000 cardiovascular disease cases and 269,000 diabetes mellitus cases would be prevented with the volume tax, and 2.44 million quality-adjusted life-years would be gained, with savings of $53.2 billion in net costs. For tiered and absolute sugar content taxes, health gains and savings were approximately doubled. For societal and government perspectives, at 10-year follow-up, and with lower (50 percent) tax pass-through, the results were robust. The largest health gains were seen in young adults, blacks and Hispanics, and lower-income Americans.

“Our study underscores the importance of considering different sugary drink tax designs in any new local, state, and federal efforts to improve health outcomes and save health care costs,” Lee said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and nutrition industries.

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