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New Soda Tax In France: Answer to Obesity and Debt Crisis?

New Soda Tax In France: Answer to Obesity and Debt Crisis?

Earlier this year, countries like Hungary and Denmark decided to apply new taxes to unhealthy foods. Now France is following suit by imposing a soda tax. Starting on January 1, 2012, the so-called “cola-tax” will be applied to all sugary soft drinks, including big global brands like Coca Cola and French brands like Orangina.

According to Agence France-Presse, the tax of around one Euro cent per can is expected to bring in tax revenues of 120 million Euros ($156 million). For a government that needs to find 100 million Euros in savings to balance its budget by 2016, taxing the sweet tooth of the French populace may seem like a great way to kill two birds with one stone — bring in more tax revenues and decrease obesity.

But will a one cent per can tax be enough to actually change the habits of the French? That remains to be seen. The small increase in price as a result of the tax may not be enough, but  industry sources predict a price increase of up to 35 percent when the tax is introduced.

Companies that produce sugary drinks have, of course, protested the introduction of the tax. In September, Coca-Cola announced that it would suspend its planned investment in a new plant in France in a “symbolic protest” against the planned tax. The company felt that it would punish their company and stigmatize its products.

Personally, I see the entire price of a can of soda and then some as a tax on both my wallet and my health. If I really want to give in to a sugary drink, then I have to pay that price. Most of the time, however, a glass of water wins out.

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134 comments

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10:46AM PST on Feb 3, 2013

Definitely a bit of both. Good start though. I hope it works.

1:18PM PST on Jan 29, 2013

They need to have a much higher tax for people to notice...and care. But it's a start!

2:50AM PDT on Oct 18, 2012

Thank you

9:22AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

Giustissimo. Di certo non eliminerà il problema ma forse ridurrà il consumo.

9:41AM PDT on Apr 22, 2012

Right on, Karen H! When will people here see that raising taxes only enriches the 1%? The way to combat obesity is to make healthy foods affordable. In this country, the next step is to rethink the work day. Hours are wasted commuting when telecommuting is a viable option.

I work from home at a high tech job. The time I spent commuting is now used exercising and cooking healthier meals. I've lost a great deal of weight since starting this job and have found more energy to join in community groups.

12:59PM PDT on Mar 15, 2012

I don't think the "cure" for obesity is another tax or another law. How about making foods that are good for us more affordable? Right now, it's cheaper to grab a fast food meal & a soda than to fix something more healthful.

12:19PM PST on Mar 9, 2012

To nie przyczyni się do spadku sprzedaży, a tylko uderzy kupujących po kieszeni, trzeba szukać innego sposobu.

12:01PM PST on Jan 20, 2012

Well, a liter of Orangina in the local international market sells for about $5. It also had high fructose corn syrup in it, which I thought was banned in Europe. This means that it will raise to about $6 here in the MidWest and also means that it is likely made in the US and the shipped to France for bottling and then shipped back here.

1:23AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

First this, then that. Cigarettes are taxed in the US, soda soon to be in France.

I don't see this as anything more than a bunch of people figuring out how to get more money, seeing a viable excuse and then putting it into action.

Can't wait till even our water and regular food is taxed. What's next to be taxed? Stay tuned.

2:37PM PST on Jan 7, 2012

I'm not sure if this is nanny state gone mad or simply another stealth tax. I am left wondering if this additional tax (fizzy drinks are, I believe already taxed) will also be applied to diet drinks? To natural juice drinks (no added sugar but plenty of calories)? To a cup of tea (I like a lot of sugar in mine!!) .....

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