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Letter to the Editor: Hawai‘i Should Support the Tiny Tax on Sugar

February 11, 2021, 3:56 PM HST
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The following is a letter to the editor. It has not been edited for content. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Big Island Now or Pacific Media Group. 

Soft drinks lined up for purchase. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

“We owe it to our children to create an environment that is conducive to making smart choices for their long-term health. We know that consuming foods and beverages that are high in added sugars, especially during childhood, is strongly related to an increase in the risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, as well as obesity, asthma and early development of high blood pressure.

Students in low income rural areas are particularly vulnerable. In addition to limited, nutritious food choices, they have limited access to information about good health practices outside of school. On top of that, their access to healthcare is often challenging.

During this pandemic it has been even more of a challenge to get students to keep moving, stay active and eat properly. That is why, as a health teacher, I welcome the governor’s inclusion of bills during the current legislative session to place a small tax — just two cents per fluid ounce — on drinks with added sugar. Research shows it does help reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

I urge everyone to tell their elected officials to support HB 994 and SB1148. The revenues raised through this tax will be invested in programs to combat obesity and put our children on a path to good health so that they will succeed and thrive. Isn’t that what we all want for our keiki?”

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