Mexico’s 10% sugary drink tax tied to less consumption

Sugary drinks are less popular with 10% tax.
Sugary drinks are less popular with 10% tax.

By Parker Brown / MedPage Today

A peso-per-liter tax on sugary drinks adopted by Mexico appears to be reducing consumption of the beverages, according to a new study.

The tax, adopted on Jan. 1, 2014, was associated with a 6 percent average decline in purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages after 1 year.

But the decline appeared to grow over the year, ending at a 12 percent decrease in December when compared with what consumption would’ve likely been without the tax, wrote Shu Wen Ng, PhD, at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health in Chapel Hill, and colleagues.

Purchases of the sugary beverages declined most in the lowest socioeconomic group, with a 9 percent decrease over the year, ending at 17 percent.

Consumption of nontaxed beverages was up by 4 percent, although the number was not significant, the authors added, and was driven mostly by a higher consumption of bottled water.

“These results show that excise taxes on SSB’s are a promising way to lower purchased (and thus consumption) of unhealthy beverages, and people may be substituting with healthier beverages such as water,” wrote Ng.

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