Public perception and characteristics related to acceptance of the sugar-sweetened beverage taxation launched in France in 2012.

Public Health Nutr. 2015 18(14):2679-88

Julia C, Méjean C, Vicari F, Péneau S, Hercberg S

In France, an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages was introduced on 1 January 2012. Our objective was to assess perception of this tax as well as the sociodemographic characteristics of its supporters and opponents.
Cross-sectional study within the Nutrinet-Santé cohort. A sub-sample of 1996 individuals was selected among participants in the Nutrinet-Santé cohort study. Perceptions of the sugar-sweetened beverage tax were assessed via self-administered questionnaires. The sociodemographic and dietary profiles of supporters and opponents of this tax were explored by multinomial logistic regression. Setting Nationally representative French sample, 2012.
Adults aged >18 years (largest sample n 1996).
Half of the study sample was generally supportive of the tax and 57·7 % perceived it as helpful in improving population health. Participants were more likely to support the tax model if the revenue it generated would be used for health-care system improvement (72·7 %) and if such taxing was associated with a corresponding decrease in the prices of other foodstuffs (71·5 %). Older participants were more likely to support the tax than were their younger counterparts (OR=2·37; 95 % CI 1·60, 3·49 for >65 years v. 26-45 years; P<0·001). Participants with lower educational levels were less likely to support the tax than were those with more formal education (OR=0·31; 95 % CI 0·19, 0·52 for low educational level v. high education level; P<0·001). In our models, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was not associated with tax perception.
The French sugar-sweetened beverage tax appeared to be favourably perceived by the public. Sociodemographic factors modulated such perceptions and should thus be taken into consideration when drafting future public health measures.
Population-based studies