Tax to be increased on sugar in sweetened drinks

The Health Ministry proposed the Government to impose one rupee tax on each extra gram of sugar (after the sixth gram) contained in sweetened drinks, Acting Director General of Health Services Dr. J. M. W. Jayasundara Bandara said.

Addressing a health seminar held at the Health Promotion Bureau in Colombo yesterday he said that sugar is being used for food and drinks in Sri Lanka due to various other reasons and not because people need sugar.

Taxation on sugar will save people from several diseases, especially Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs). According to Dr. Bandara, at the moment alcohol consumption and smoking is in a very high level in the country and daily three persons die from oral cancers.

Unfortunately, every month only around 20 women and few males visit Healthy Life Style Centres (HLCs) established covering the entire country which offer free screening for NCDs, medical examinations, blood tests, medications, consultation and many other facilities free of charge.

Earlier, Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that the approval of World Health Organization had been received to impose a tax of one rupee on every extra gram of sugar (over six grams) contained in sugary sweetened drinks. 

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