Sugary drinks are set to cost up to 30c more per litre
Ireland’s new sugar tax comes into effect from today.
People will be paying up to 30c more per litre for drinks that are high in sugar.
Fizzy drinks, energy and sports drinks, flavoured waters and juices are all affected.
The Government is hoping the legislation will play an important part in tackling Ireland's obesity crisis – with one in four Irish children currently overweight or obese.
Opponents of the plan have warned that it will be ineffective – with over three quarters of soft drinks unaffected by the new tax.
The tax is expected to generate up to €40m in the first year – however, under current plans, the money will not be ring-fenced for use in tackling health and obesity issues.
Professor Donal O'Shea, the HSE's lead for obesity said the tax is “the single initiative that is most-likely to impact on childhood overweight and obesity that the Government can act on.”
“If it is done properly and evaluated then Ireland can show the rest of the world that this really does work,” he said.
He insisted the tax will reduce consumption of sugary drinks.
“We know that is what tax does and I am really hopeful that the money that is generated will be identified and then used to fund other preventative measures,” he said.
“Because a single item is not going to change the obesity epidemic on its own – you need to do multiple things in multiple areas.”
Food Drink Ireland is one of the organisations coming out against the introduction of the tax.
Director Paul Kelly said that tax will simply hit consumers in the pocket – without providing any health benefits.
“We think that the measure is very much a fiscal measure rather than a health measure,” he said.
“The reality is that over three quarters of soft drinks now are not going to be covered by the tax and the main reason they won’t be covered by the tax is that industry has been taking sugar out of the product for many years – well in advance of this tax actually taking place.”
The tax will see drinks containing between five and eight grams of sugar rising by 20c per litre.
Drinks with more than eight grams meanwhile will cost 30c more.