Tax may be part of bitter-sweet solution

Cancer Council has renewed its call for a sugary drinks tax to be considered, with Queenslanders at serious risk of long-term health problems from overconsumption.

An investigation into tax options is part of a range of recommendations to reduce sugary drink consumption released by Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the Heart Foundation (Victoria).

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with serious health issues.

“One can of soft drink alone can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar – and many people think it’s acceptable to have one can a day – it isn’t,” Ms Clift said.

“Consuming sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain and obesity, which can lead to some cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart problems.

“Obesity is a growing problem in our state – 65 per cent of Queenslanders are overweight or obese, and alarmingly, 33 per cent don’t even realise it.

“While obesity is caused by a range of complex factors, we know that eating a healthy diet and limiting sugary, fatty and salty food and drinks is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy weight.

“A range of strategies to curb our country’s growing obesity epidemic have been tried in the past – but clearly haven’t worked.

“We need to explore new, innovative options and consider a multi-faceted approach to improve the long-term health of Queenslanders.”

Restrictions on marketing sugary drinks to children, reducing the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in children’s settings and workplaces and investigating tax options are among the policy recommendations.

Around 14 per cent of Queenslanders admit to consuming non-diet soft drink at least daily, and 16 per cent of children aged 5-17 years consume non-diet soft drink and non-diet flavoured drinks at least daily*.

Cancer Council Queensland recommends Queenslanders limit their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and instead drink water or unflavoured low-fat milk.

Queenslanders are invited to join the QUEST toward a healthier lifestyle to reduce their risk of cancer, via

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at

*The Health of Queenslander 2012, Advancing good health, Fourth report of the Chief Health Officer Queensland.