Swedish Cancer Society calls for soft-drink tax to fight obesity

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The Swedish Cancer Society calls on the government to bring in a soft-drink tax in a bid to reduce overweight and obesity among the general public.

The call came after a study showed that soft drinks sold in Sweden contain more sugar than the same drinks sold in other countries. For instance, a bottle of orange-flavored Fanta sold in Sweden contains nearly three times as much sugar as the same drink in Britain or Spain. That is the equivalent of 18 sugar cubes in Fanta Orange bottles in Sweden, compared to seven in the British bottles, Swedish Television (SVT) reported on Friday.

The sugar levels in Swedish Fanta bottles are also higher than those in other Nordic countries; 12.3 grams per deciliter in Sweden compared to 7.2 grams in Denmark and Finland, SVT said, quoting on Friday a recent study carried out by the Swedish Cancer Society and the Swedish Consumers’ Association.

Britain and Ireland are among the countries that have imposed soft-drink taxes in order to bring down sugar levels, with producers preferring to change the recipes of sugary drinks over raising costs for consumers, SVT reported.

“Many countries take this matter seriously and have made an effort to reduce overweight and obesity in the population, for instance by introducing a soft-drink tax,” Ulrika Arehed Kagstrom, secretary-general of the Swedish Cancer Society, told SVT.

Arehed Kagstrom said that while sugar is not carcinogenic in and of itself, it does contribute to overweight and obesity, which in turn increase the risk of developing cancer. She insisted that the tax has had a positive impact on public health in other countries and suggested that it could have the same effect in Sweden, where more than half of the population is overweight or obese.

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