Ministry of Health Considering Banning Or Taxing Sugared Drinks in S’pore

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Do you love sweet drinks? Are you someone who absolutely cannot live without your sweet tooth?

Because if you are, then I have some bad news for you.

The Ministry of Health is considering banning or taxing high sugared drinks in Singapore.

In this case, they’re looking at pre-packaged ones like:

Dry mixes like three-in-one coffee powder…

Image: Boontoom Sae-Kor / Shutterstock.com

…cordial…

Image: Zety Akhzar / Shutterstock.com

…soft drinks…

Image: monticello / Shutterstock.com

…isotonic drinks…

Image: TY Lim / Shutterstock.com

…commercial fruit juices…

Image: mark_vyz / Shutterstock.com

…regular yoghurt drinks…

Image: mohamadhafizmohamad / Shutterstock.com

…and others.

Don’t worry, they’re not looking at bubble tea or freshly-brewed drinks like Starbucks Frappuccino or your kopi peng from the nearby coffee shop.

Ministry of Health consulting the public on regulatory measures

On 4 Dec, it was reported that the Ministry of Health (MOH) is consulting the public on taking a sterner stance against sugared drinks.

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They’ve proposed four possible ways to fight in the war against diabetes.

Banning Higher Sugar Pre-packaged SSBs
Any SSB with more than 5.5 teaspoons of sugar per 250ml will be banned from Singapore.

Imposing Tax on Manufacturers and Importers
If this measure was chosen, they’re considering between a flat tax or a tiered tax. Flat tax would be simpler to implement but it’ll have lesser incentives for manufacturers to cut down on the sugar. Tiered taxes, on the other hand, could deal with the situation better. Lower sugar drinks will have lower taxes, and higher ones will have higher taxes.

Tightening Advertising Regulations
Limiting or banning the advertising of unhealthy food and drinks on mass media, including social media. Kind of like how some industries aren’t allowed to advertise their products. While there are some restrictions already in place, they’re looking to tighten things up even further.

Compulsory Front-of-Pack Nutrition Label
Think of cigarettes. The boxes have dying babies or dead lungs on the packaging. MOH is thinking of using the same strategy on SSBs’ packaging so that consumers are reminded of their impending deaths every time they drink.

And this time, they’re counting on the cost to be passed on to consumers

Singaporeans have a saying: every single time the government makes a move, it means more money we have to spend.

Typically, a government wouldn’t want that to happen because, well, cost of living mah.

But this time, the government’s counting on it.

With higher taxes, the cost will definitely be passed on to the consumers. This, they hope, will encourage Singaporeans to go for the cheaper (i.e. healthier) options available on the market.

Of course, if there’s a tiered-tax in place, it theoretically means that healthier drinks (zero sugar, etc) will be cheaper than the normal sugar drinks.

Except we all know that if one can of soft drink cost amount of dollars, it’s likely that the lesser-sugar option of the same drink will match the price anyway.

Whether Measures Are Put Into Place Depends On You

Feel strongly about this issue? Now, you can do something about it.

MOH said that whether the measures get implemented or not depends on the public feedback they get.

You can submit your views and suggestions through the REACH website from 25 Jan 2019, 6 pm.

And if the measures get implemented and proven successful, they’ll look at including more sugared drinks in Singapore.

Drastic, yes, but let’s face it: in the long run, you might find yourself much healthier.