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Research Paper on Whether China Should Levy a Soda Tax

2019-01-07 来源: 51due教员组 类别: Paper范文

下面为大家整理一篇优秀的paper代写范文- Research Paper on Whether China Should Levy a Soda Tax,供大家参考学习,这篇论文讨论了征收汽水税的问题。肥胖一直是世界上许多国家的主要公共卫生问题,而导致肥胖的原因之一就是汽水。为了解决肥胖的问题,有人认为应该对汽水征税,这样就可以降低大家汽水的消费,从而减缓肥胖的问题。

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1. Introduction

Obesity has been a majoring public health problem in many countries around the world. The increasingly unhealthy diet and habits are seen as the direct causes of the high rate of obesity. Since people of the modern world are more frequently exposed to processed food instead of fresh and natural ones, what they eat is largely to blame for the obesity problem. Food that contain high calorie and sugar to create a higher sense of satisfaction, despite being popular among the younger generation, are not the optimal choices when it comes to weight control. Moreover, there are also diseases, such as diabetes and heart problems, that are triggered by obesity. In recent years, the obesity problem is not only troubling the western countries, but also going worse in developing countries, such as China. Figure 1 below shows the increased obesity rate among Chinese teenagers between 1990 and 2013. It can be seen that China is the top victim of obesity and overweight problems in the developing world, and actions need to be taken immediately before the problem develops further.

“Sin taxes are meant to dissuade people from participating in activities considered harmful to their health and well-being (qtd. In Dixon).” The first introduction of the concept of sin taxes was when governments around the world tried to stop over-consumptions of the public on things like tobacco and alcohol, which are detrimental for the health of the people and the development of the society. However, application of a sin tax on sugary drinks only occurred in recent years in certain areas around the world, in an attempt to reduce soda consumption and promote public health. However, application of the soda tax has also aroused debates on whether such a policy is effective in enhancing public health or just a waste of resources and effort. Through a preliminary research on the topic, this paper will include arguments both for and against the soda tax. Finally, the questions of how the policy of soda tax suits China, and whether China should apply soda taxes will be answered.

2. How Soda Tax is Effective

According to WHO, taxes and subsidies have direct influences on purchasing behaviors and consumption of sugary drinks. Although most of the research is done in the United States, China has about the same absolute numbers of obese population as the US, making it easier to compare the problems of the two countries (Nebehay). In the United States, the problem of obesity has been much worse than in China, urging the actions of soda tax years earlier. Despite the effort made by the American Beverage Association (ABA) and the millions it spends annually for propaganda, the majority of the public is still supportive of soda tax. Such support makes the levying of the tax much easier. In Berkeley, California, the soda taxes target retailers instead of manufacturers of the drinks (Dixon). Although the intentions of the authority are clear, which is to lower the rates of obesity by reducing the amount of soda consumption, there are no immediate effects in Berkeley, except the observations that people spend more on soda than they did before the tax. In Philadelphia, it is the distributors of soda drinks within the city that must pay an additional amount of tax (Dixon).

The first and most important argument from those who support soda tax is that it has a direct impact on the consumer behavior, therefore can act effectively in improving public health. It is found in scientific research that the consumption of sugary soda would increase the risk of many diseases, including obesity and diabetes (Brownell & Shughart). Of the total expenditure on health-care, 42% was spent on the obesity related issues. However, if people could change their diet and reduce the amount of sugar consumption, the money needed would be significantly reduced. People rely on the sugary drinks not only because they are cheap, but also because the high level of sugar and caffeine are additive, making people come back for more all the time. Such problems only make it more necessary to apply soda tax on these drinks.

Another supporting evidence of soda tax is based on the study of the American Journal of Public Health, showing that “consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is down by 21% in some low-income communities (qtd. in Dixon).” In the article by Nebehay, there were 42 million Children under age 5 who were obese in the year of 2015 around the world, which was over a quarter of increase in 15 years. Both research show that the soda related obesity problem is closely related to the consumer type. In figure 2, the different percentages for different consumer groups of soda is shown. The single people, males, the younger generation and the lower income groups are found more likely to consume more soda drinks. Since it these groups are also more financially constrained, putting a tax on soda would be an effective way to reduction the level of soda consumption for them. 水税务

There are already many successful cases of sugar tax in countries such as France, Barbados, Romania and Mexico. In addition, over 30 states in the United States have adopted the policy, with more considering to join. The typical soda tax will increase the retail price of the soda drinks by 20%, which would reduce consumption by 15% to 20% (Brownell & Shughart). Although there are opposing voices saying that sugar taxes would only hurt the poor, but there is no denying that lowing the consumption of sugar would help reduce the chance of diabetes, just as how a tax on tobacco would help reduce the chance of lung cancer. Although there are costs generated in the implementation of the policy, the income of tax would be generated for better use, such as lowing the price of fresh produce with subsidy. Overall, if the policy of soda tax should work, the tax on soda alone is not enough. There should also be healthier, and cheaper choices available for the pubic.

3. The Opposing Voices

There are arguments taken by critics of soda tax, stating that the health benefits of the tax ARE exaggerated. As the argument made in the article by Shughart, imposing soda tax is simply a badly conceived policy. The problem with soda tax is that it doesn’t work directly on the problem of public health, but through something that is indirect such as soda drinks, which generate an enormous amount of waste of public resources. The popularity of the policy among the voters should not become a justification of it. The effectiveness of soda tax is questioned, in terms of how the reduction in soda sales is measured. It is indeed questionable that whether people would change their amount of consumption because of a 20% raised in price, which is only about 50 cents. There have also been studies that back this assumption: the habit of consumption is unaffected with an additional soda tax (Brownell & Shughart). Even if there was an influence, it could be so minimal that people begin to question whether it is worth the trouble.

In addition, it is also important to find out what substitutes that people would turn to when they are influenced by the soda tax. It is found that drinks such as diet soda, somehow perceived by the public as the healthier choice, would not change the way our body absorbs the sugar in it. In other words, such presumed healthy drinks are just as detrimental to the public health as the sugary sodas, but there is not enough awareness raised in the public, which significantly diminishes the effect of soda tax (Brownell & Shughart). Similar points are made by Sahadi, questioning whether there are available healthier substitutes for the public after their abandon the sodas. The action of drinking soda and juice, or eating more bread and cookies are equally unhealthy in terms of the sugar intake level, but is it fair for the soda industry to be targeted just because it “looks” unhealthy?

In fact, the problem of added sugar in processed food is not only shown in the soda drinks, but also many other products. The advocates often compare the effectiveness of soda tax and the tax on cigarette, but the two are inherently different. The reason why cigarette tax works so well on the reduction of lung cancer is that when people consume less of it, there is a direct cause-and-effect relationship, with no other interfering factors. The case of soda is completely different: the diet of a person is much more complex, which is composed of dozens of different products that may vary day to day (Sahadi). It is thus irresponsible to compare the two types of problems in promoting the effectiveness of soda tax.

It is also claimed by critics, that the obesity problem in the United States is caused not only by the diet, but also by life style choices, such as lack of physical exercise. Although it has become the political correctness to support sugar tax, and the action of criticizing it can be suspected of hidden agenda, it is the responsibility of the government to evaluate the effectiveness of a policy in a more accurate and logical way. Compared to the millions spent on implementing the soda tax, the obesity rates, which is the ultimate goal of the tax, is predicted to reduce by less than 4% after the levying of the soda tax. Such a number is still minimal compared to the 35% of obesity rate for adults in the United States (Sahadi). Thus, there should be more explorations on how to increase the effectiveness of the soda tax, not just blind implementation of the policy due to the popularity.

4. Conclusion

From the above analysis and evidence from research, it is shown that it has come to a point for China to consider levying the soda taxes, due to its growing obese population, especially among the younger and most vulnerable generations. The preparation work must be done right now, so that the problem would not go out of control in the near future. Although the soda tax is regarded as effective in influencing consumer behavior and adopted in many different countries among the world, the actually effect of soda tax on obesity is proved to be minimal. The reasons are largely due to the complexity of diet for the public, so that the control in one single factor, the sugary soda in this case, is not enough to improve public health in general. The nature of the human diet is the fundamental reason why the soda taxes would work as well as the tax on cigarette does.

Therefore, it is suggested that China should not adopt the soda tax policies in fighting the obesity rate, since the final effect is very minimal compared to the effort made. Even if there are attempt in the future to levy soda taxes, it should be experimented in certain areas where the problem of obesity is the most severe, and have a workable and copy-able model created, before it is implemented on a larger scale (Nebehay). In addition, more accurate evaluation methods should be proposed, as president Obama commented on the issue: “I actually think it’s an idea that we should be exploring. There’s no doubt that our kids drink way too much soda. And every study that’s been done about obesity shows that there is as high a correlation between increased soda consumption and obesity as just about anything else (qtd. in Neuman).” Despite the need so such explorations, the true focus of the Chinese government should be ensuring the availability of fresh and cheap produce as alternatives to processed food, which are more helpful in

Works Cited

Brownell, Kelly & Shughart, William. “Should There Be a Tax on Soda and Other Sugary Drinks?” Wall Street Journal. www.WSJ.com. July 12, 2015. Web. March 8, 2017.

Dixon, Amanda. “Should There Be a Soda Tax?” Smart Asset. www/SmartAsset.com. September 01, 2016. Web. March 8, 2017.

Nebehay, Stephanie. “Tax Sodas and Sugary Drinks, WHO Urges Governments.” NBC News. www.NBCNews.com. October 11, 2016. Web. March 8, 2017.

Neuman, William. “Proposed Tax on Sugary Beverages Debated.” The New York Times. www.NYTimes.com. September 16, 2009. Web. March 8, 2017.

Sahadi, Jeanne. “Should there be a fat tax on soda and junk food?” CNN. Money. Money.CNN.com. December, 14, 2015. Web. March 8, 2017.

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