May 18. 2024. 4:20

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Finland mulls introducing a health tax

Six out of nine political parties want to introduce a health tax to tackle the issue of obesity in Finland during the next parliamentary term, a new survey found.

The number of overweight adults has doubled since 1980, with two in three men and more than half of the women now being overweight. A further 25% of men and women above 30 are now obese. Figures also tripled for teens, with 20% now considered overweight.

The political momentum to do something about the situation is high, with most parties wanting to tackle the issue by increasing taxes for products containing a lot of sugar, salt or saturated fat, a new survey published by the Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health (Soste) states.

The parties fully backing a health-based tax to be introduced in the next parliamentary term include the liberal-conservative National Coalition Party (NCP), social democrats, the Left Alliance, Greens, the Christian Democrats and Movement Now.

The nationalistic Finns Party said it had no opinion on the matter.

“The result is a very strong message to the next government. One has to proceed determinedly with a health-based tax. The political mindset is there, and the opposition from the industry must not let slow down the drafting of the law,” commented Soste’s Social Relations Manager, Ulla Kiuru.

Despite the majority backing, rising inflation, in particular, may thwart the push for a new health-based tax.

Rather than have prices increased for unhealthy products, most Finns would prefer the VAT on vegetables and berries be lowered, a survey commissioned in January by the Finnish Food and Drink Industries Federation (ETL) reads.

(Pekka Vänttinen |