Voices Of Youth

Extend sugar tax to food items too

It is important to nurture our youth to become informed consumers, but I do not think that education alone is enough to deal with a time-sensitive issue such as diabetes (Educating youth on ills of sugar more effective than imposing tax, by Tan Xinyi; June 25).

While education is a necessary long-term policy tool, it will not result in an overnight change in our eating habits.

To achieve that, education must be accompanied by a sin tax on sugary drinks.

Places like Mexico and Berkeley have proven that such taxes can work as sugary drinks are not basic necessities. Thus, they are price elastic, which means that their demand is largely determined by their price, so even a slight increase in price results in a large decrease in consumption.

Furthermore, a tax on sugar may even encourage companies to innovate healthier alternatives to cater to the general public.

However, while a tax on sugary drinks is indeed a step in the right direction, I do not think it is going far enough. The tax should also include sugary snacks such as sweets and chocolates.

By extending the tax to include other products high in sugar content, we are guaranteeing the health of all Singaporeans.

Wong E Jeh, 11

Primary 5 pupil

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2018, with the headline 'Extend sugar tax to food items too'. Print Edition | Subscribe