VANCOUVER, Feb. 19, 2020 /CNW/ - Heart & Stroke joins with the Childhood Obesity Foundation and Dietitians of Canada, BC Region, to applaud the Government of BC's move to eliminate the exemption of the provincial sales tax on sweetened, carbonated beverages. This is a vital public health measure that starts the process of addressing the damaging impact these sugary beverages inflict on the health of people in British Columbia.
Research conducted for Heart & Stroke in 2017 shows that 79% of people in BC supported removing PST exemption from sugary drinks. The next step is to eliminate the BC sales tax exemption for all sugary drinks, not just pop, and for the Federal government to impose an excise tax, which is built into the supply chain of sugary drinks.
Sugary drinks drive significant health care costs in BC and Canada by contributing to unhealthy weights, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and a range of cancers. These are products that trigger excessive health care costs yet offer nothing in terms of recouping their societal burden.
Beginning July 1, 2020, the new measure will add seven per cent to the cost of a can of pop to raise an estimated $27 million to $37 million in provincial tax revenue in the next two fiscal years. The province could increase the impact of this move by using this additional revenue to fund health promotion programs. A 2017 survey conducted for Heart & Stroke found that 61% of people in BC supported using funds generated this way to provide grants to encourage healthy eating and active lifestyles.
In recent years, both Heart & Stroke and the World Health Organization identified sugary drinks as a key culprit in rising sugar consumption and the growth of metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes and obesity that can lead to heart disease and stroke.
Sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugar in the diets of people in Canada. Diego Marchese, Heart & Stroke's Executive Vice-President, Western Canada says the elimination of BC's sales tax exemption on sweetened, carbonated drinks is a good start in addressing this unhealthy situation. "We have seen how countries like Mexico and the UK have significantly reduced their consumption of sugary drinks by increasing the cost through taxation," says Marchese.
"The Province of BC has done what it is able to, within its jurisdiction. Now it's up to the Federal government to move decisively to impose an excise tax that will provide even greater deterrent to consume sugary drinks," says Dr. Tom Warshawski, a pediatrician and Chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation.
Lisa McKellar, BC Regional Director with Dietitians of Canada, adds, "There is a key opportunity here to reinvest these revenues into healthy living programs. Dietitians urge the government to use these funds to invest in programs that include a focus on healthy eating."
What are sugary drinks? These include soda/soft drinks, fruit drinks (punch, cocktail), juices (including 100% fruit juice) sport drinks, sweetened coffees, sweetened milks, teas, and waters and energy drinks.
Heart & Stroke recommends that an individual's total intake of free sugars not exceed 10% of total daily calorie (energy) intake, which is in alignment with the World Health Organization recommendations. For the average 2000 calorie diet, 10% of total calorie intake would represent a maximum of 48 grams, or 12 teaspoons, of sugar per day.
Why are sugary drinks an issue? Sugary drinks are the single largest contributor of sugar in the diet. About 20% of the calories from pre-packaged foods and beverages in Canada come from free or added sugars. In pre-packaged beverages alone, 70% of the calories come from free or added sugars.
Over the next 25 years sugary drinks will have a significant negative impact on Canadians' health – devastating consequences that could be avoided:
It is projected that sugary drink consumption in Canada will be responsible for:
More than four million cases of overweight and obesity
Up to 1 million cases of type 2 diabetes
300,000 Canadians with ischemic heart disease
100,000 cases of cancer
Almost 40,000 strokes
Sugary drinks will be responsible for over 63,000 deaths.
About Heart & Stroke Life. We don't want you to miss it. That's why Heart & Stroke leads the fight against heart disease and stroke. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so people in Canada don't miss out on precious moments. Together, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy.
SOURCE Heart and Stroke Foundation
For further information: Anita Pieterse, Communications Advisor, Western Canada, Heart & Stroke, 403 351-7032, C 403 903-3144, [email protected]