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France approves new tax on fizzy drinks

The levy of around 1c per can is expected to bring in €120million for the French exchequer.

Image: poolie via Flickr

AUTHORITIES IN FRANCE have approved a new tax on sugary soft drinks, in the hope of tackling obesity.

The levy – which will work out at around one cent per can – was given the nod by the country’s Constitutional Council as part of overall budget measures for 2012.

It will apply to all drinks with added sugar, but not to ‘diet’ versions with artificial sweeteners or fruit juices, English-language newspaper The Connexion reports.

According to AFP, the new levy is expected to generate around €120million in extra revenues for the French government.

It is also hoped that the tax will help reduce consumption of sugary drinks, which many experts believe play a key part in rising obesity levels. According to the Irish Heart Foundation, some contain the equivalent of 12 teaspoons of sugar.

IHF chief executive Michael O’Shea has called for the introduction of a similar tax in Ireland. He wrote on TheJournal.ie: “Governments have no choice, for economic as well as health reasons, but to impose taxes on unhealthy food and drinks.”

Health minister James Reilly confirmed in September that he was considering a so-called ‘sugar tax’ as part of a package of measures to address Ireland’s obesity problem.

Column: A sugar tax isn’t just desirable, it’s a necessity>

More: Full coverage of the sugar tax debate on TheJournal.ie>

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Michael Freeman

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