Taxation of sweetened beverages: An economical perspective

The taxation of food products, such as sweetened beverages, is one method that is being considered to change eating behaviours and consequently help improve the populations' health. However, very few empirical studies have been conducted on the use of fiscal measures to prevent obesity and chronic diseases. While most experts recognize the need to take action to reduce the consumption of sweetened beverages in Québec, many wonder if taxation is an interesting tool to reach this goal. Behavioral economics is a useful approach to critically study the implementation of this type of measure. It is from this angle that TOPO's editorial team chose to expose a few economic principles that may help public health practitioners get a clearer picture of the issue at hand.

The goal of this TOPO is not to take a stand on taxation, but, from a public health perspective, to include economic considerations in the public health reflection on the relevance of imposing a tax on sweetened beverages.

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