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The ethics of taxing sugar-sweetened beverages to improve public health

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Title: The ethics of taxing sugar-sweetened beverages to improve public health
Authors: Goiana-Da-Silva, K
Cruz-e-Silva, D
Bartlett, O
Vasconcelos, J
Nunes, AM
Ashrafian, H
Miraldo, M
Do Céu Machado, M
Araújo, F
Darzi, A
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: The World Health Organization highlights fiscal policies as priority interventions for the promotion of healthy eating in its Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases. The taxation of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) in particular is noted to be an effective measure, and SSBs taxes have already been implemented in several countries worldwide. However, although the evidence base suggests that this will be effective in helping to combat rising obesity rates, opponents of SSBs taxation argue that it is illiberal and paternalistic, and therefore should be avoided. Bioethical analysis may play an essential role in clarifying whether policymakers should adopt SSBs taxes as part of wider obesity strategy. In this article we argue that no single ethical theory can account for the complexities inherent in obesity prevention strategy, especially the liberal theories relied upon by opponents of SSBs taxation. We contend that a pluralist approach to the ethics of SSBs taxation must be adopted as the only suitable way of accounting for the multiple overlapping, and sometimes, conflicting factors that are relevant to determining the moral acceptability of such an intervention.
Issue Date: 16-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance: 18-Mar-2020
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/78945
DOI: 10.3389/fpubh.2020.00110
ISSN: 2296-2565
Publisher: Frontiers Media
Journal / Book Title: Frontiers in Public Health
Volume: 8
Copyright Statement: © 2020 Goiana-da-Silva, Cruz-e-Silva, Bartlett, Vasconcelos, Morais Nunes, Ashrafian, Miraldo, Machado, Araújo and Darzi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: 110
Appears in Collections:Imperial College Business School
Department of Surgery and Cancer
Institute of Global Health Innovation