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Title: 0769 - Attitudes to the Sugar-Tax in Chile: Implications for Oral Health

Authors:

Maria Valenzuela (Presenter)
University of York

Vishal Aggarwal, University of Leeds
Karen Bloor, University of York
Johanna Taylor, University of York
Timothy Doran, University of York

Abstract:

Objectives: In 2014, Chile increased the sales tax on beverages with sugar content >6.25g/100ml to 18%, compared to 10% for beverages below this threshold. We explored the views of stakeholders on the introduction of the Sugar Tax, and the potential impact on oral health.

Methods: Ongoing qualitative study of stakeholders from government institutions, non-government organisations, academia, and the beverage industry in Chile. Five face-to-face semi-structured interviews have been completed to date, with further interviews in progress. Thematic analysis has been used to: i) identify emerging themes; and ii) refine purposive sampling and topics to explore with future participants.

Results: Preliminary findings suggest minimal or delayed Sugar Tax awareness across governmental agencies and the wider public, with participants blaming poor governmental communication strategies. Awareness was greater in the beverage industry, which faces direct financial consequences but which also perceived the tax as an opportunity to improve social responsibility efforts. Most participants judged tax policies as relevant to obesity but not to oral health. Participants believed that consumer behaviour had not changed, because manufacturers of targeted beverages had absorbed the tax increase without passing costs onto the consumer. All participants identified cultural barriers to drinking tap water (for example, that it is perceived as harmful and associated with lower socioeconomic status) and a consumer preference for high sugar fizzy drinks, which some participants perceived were associated with stereotypical male imagery in industry advertising.

Conclusions: Our preliminary findings suggest that awareness of the Sugar Tax in Chile is low, even among government officials with responsibility for public health, raising questions about its likely impact on the consumption of high sugar drinks. Lack of awareness is compounded by cultural barriers; whereas high sugar drinks have a positive image, especially among males and those in lower socioeconomic groups, tap water has a widespread negative image.

Student Presenter

This abstract is based on research that was funded entirely or partially by an outside source:
CONICYT Becas-Chile Doctoral Scholarship

Disclosure Statement:
The submitter must disclose the names of the organizations with which any author have a relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the clinical or research area involved. The following is submitted: NONE

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