VANCOUVER, BC – British Columbia’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services’ report today (Nov. 15) recommends once again that PST be applied to sugary drinks.
There is a strong scientific consensus that excessive sugary drink intake is a major risk factor for the development of obesity in both children and adults. Having obesity increases one’s risk of chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke and 13 different cancers. Sugary drink over-consumption is also an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, regardless of weight status.
“Sugary drink consumption in BC is estimated to trigger health care costs of 130 million dollars per year,” says Dr. Tom Warshawski, pediatrician and chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation. “However, sugary drinks are not subject to the PST, the major source of provincial revenue used to pay health care costs. This product is clearly not paying its fair share of the health care costs it triggers. It’s time to remove the special status sugary drinks unfairly enjoy and apply the PST to these products. This measure would also be a useful step in discouraging the consumption of sugary drinks,” adds Dr. Warshawski.
For many years the Childhood Obesity Foundation has been calling on the government of British Columbia to extend the PST to include sugary drinks by removing the exemption this product currently enjoys. The Childhood Obesity Foundation believes that this measure will reduce consumption, facilitate personal responsibility and would garner, at minimum, over $30 million in revenue.
Proceeds from taxing sugary drinks could partially recover the health care costs triggered by excessive sugary drink consumption. The Childhood Obesity Foundation recommends that proceeds be used to fund health promotion initiatives in BC.
About the Childhood Obesity Foundation
The mission of the Childhood Obesity Foundation is to lead a societal shift toward healthy eating and active lifestyles to promote childhood healthy weights and the resulting physical and emotional benefits. The vision of the Childhood Obesity Foundation is children and youth of Canada free of chronic disease that ensue from unhealthy weights.