Health & wellbeing

A recent survey reveals that a clear majority of Finns support the introduction of a sugar tax targeting products high in sugar content, such as candies and biscuits. The initiative, backed by 60% of respondents and opposed by 31%, showcases bipartisan support among both men and women. The survey, conducted by research institute Verian (formerly Kantor Public) on behalf of Terve Paino ry, collected responses from 1,023 individuals, indicating a slight increase in support from a similar survey three years ago by Taloustutkimus, which showed 58% in favor.

Professor Pertti Mustajoki, chair of Terve Paino ry, highlights the public health benefit of such a measure, stating, “Reducing sugar consumption by increasing the price of high-sugar products through additional taxes will help combat the growing obesity epidemic, one of the major current challenges to our public health.”

The proposal for a sugar tax comes at a time when obesity rates among adults have doubled and tripled among children over the past four decades, with the trend continuing upward. Obesity disrupts metabolism and leads to dozens of diseases, causing significant human suffering and imposing billions of euros in costs on Finland's healthcare system and society at large.

Currently, a tax is applied only to sugary drinks, which account for about 20% of the sugar intake among Finns. Expanding the tax to include other high-sugar products could generate over 500 million euros in annual revenue, adding to the approximately 220 million euros already collected from the soda tax.

Professor Pekka Puska, vice-chair of Terve Paino ry, emphasizes the dual benefits of the tax: “With the clear majority of the population supporting such a health tax, which not only aids public health but also generates additional revenue for the state, the government has every reason to implement this measure. Tax grading based on sugar content would also encourage the reduction of sugar in products.”

This growing support for a sugar tax reflects a societal shift towards health-conscious policies, urging the government to consider fiscal measures as a means to promote healthier consumption habits and address the obesity crisis.