Implementation of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax in low- and middle-income countries: recommendations for policymakers
Longitudinal and observational studies have found a link between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including obesity and diabetes. Following World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, SSB taxes have been implemented in over 40 countries and cities to reduce sugar consumption. Despite continuing battles with communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), an epidemiological transition towards NCDs warrants SSB tax implementation. However, LMICs face challenges when implementing SSB taxes including a lack of resources and opposing arguments from industry. Sharing experiences among countries can help to improve the likelihood of successful SSB tax implementation. We review experiences of tobacco, alcohol, and SSB tax implementation in LMICs. We discuss potential pitfalls for policymakers and how they might be overcome. We provide recommendations based on implementation experiences in LMICs to help governments improve implementation capacity and advance public health.
KeywordsOral health Public health Taxation LMICs Sugar
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