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Highlighted in orange are countries that have implemented a levy on sugary products.

The World Health Organization recommends limiting the intake of free sugars to maximum 10% of total energy intake, and even better, to less than 5%. In most countries average consumption is significantly higher. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, dental caries and cardiovascular disease. Excessive consumption therefore also imparts a substantial burden on health systems.

Levies on sugary products work, and can either act as a price signal to consumers, or incentivise industry to reformulate products to avoid paying the levy. Studies suggest that a most effective levy rate would result in a 20% price difference. Few countries seem to attain this level, however. Levies, as they generate revenues, can be earmarked for specific public investments. Such levies also have the potential to reduce health inequities.

Countries with a levy on sugary products

Belgium – sugary drinks

Finland – sugary drinks

France – sugary drinks

Hungary – sugary drinks and certain other sugary products

Ireland – sugary drinks

Latvia – sugary drinks

Norway – sugary drinks and certain other sugary products

Portugal – sugary drinks

Spain (Catalonia) – sugary drinks

United Kingdom – sugary drinks

In progress

Estonia – a sugary drinks tax was adopted in 2017, but did not come into force.

Italyunder discussion, may come into effect in 2020


Policies for healthy living environments