Candy tax proposed in Connecticut

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

New Haven State representative Juan Candelaria proposes Connecticut candy & soda tax
New Haven State representative Juan Candelaria proposes Connecticut candy & soda tax

Related tags Nutrition

A levy on high-calorie confectionery and soft drinks is being considered in Connecticut as a means to tackle childhood obesity.

The US National Confectioners Association (NCA), however, has disputed the bill, saying there is no evidence taxes work to curb obesity.  

Around 12% of Connecticut’s high school students are obese, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

The draft legislation​, brought by New Haven State representative Juan Candelaria has been referred to the State of Connecticut’s Committee on Children and proposes a tax of one cent per ounce on candies and soft drinks (carbonated and non-carbonated) that are high in sugar and calories. 

It says the proceeds will be used for childhood prevention efforts, to fund municipalities throughout the state and to finance the Governor’s Scholarship program.

NCA:  ‘Discriminatory sales taxes’

The US National Confectioners Association (NCA) said in a statement: "Since candy is viewed as a treat, US Confectioners oppose discriminatory sales taxes that single out candy. 

“Some legislators see taxes on candy and soda as a way to decrease the prevalence of obesity; however, there is no evidence to prove that these taxes work."

Sugar taxes in the US and Europe

States such as Tennessee, Arkansas, Virginia, and West Virginia impose levies on soft drinks, but few have an ‘obesity tax’ on candy. The state of Colorado has a 2.9% sales tax on candy. Sugar taxes, which impact sugar-containing products like confectionery, exist in a small number of European countries.

Hungary introduced a tax on products with high sugar or salt content in 2011. The tax is calculated based on the turnover of a company and the percentage of sugar per 100 g of the product.

Demark scrapped a tax on foods high in saturated fats in 2013, but the country still has excise duties – commonly referred to as ‘sugar taxes’  - on chocolate, candy, ice cream and soft drinks.

Last week, the European Commission launched an inquiry to determine whether Denmark’s now defunct saturated fat tax unfairly favored manufacturers whose products were not subject to the levies.

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