Almost 3 in 5 Singaporeans would support a total ban on high-sugar drinks: Survey

Sugar was considered more addictive than coffee and cigarettes, the YouGov survey revealed.

How willing would you be to give up soft drinks? A recent survey has found that many Singaporeans may be willing to forgo their high-sugar drinks for life.

A survey of 1,132 Singaporeans conducted by market research firm YouGov has found that 42 per cent of respondents are in support of Singapore implementing a sugar tax, while as many as 58 per cent are in favour of an all-out ban instead.

Out of the 68 respondents with diabetes, 46 were supportive of a sugar ban, YouGov said.


The survey’s findings – released on July 12 – also revealed that respondents of different levels of education and income differed in their views.

About half of the respondents with a university degree supported the implementation of a sugar tax as compared to 35 per cent of non-degree holders.

And around 47 per cent of high-income earners – defined as those earning more than S$8,000 a month – supported the tax, YouGov said. In comparison, 35 per cent of low-income earners, who earn less than S$4,000 a month, were in favour of a sugar tax.

Half will reduce soft drink intake if tax is imposed

Of all the respondents, 7 per cent consume soft drinks on a daily basis, and 26 per cent drink soft drinks weekly.

Another 32 per cent consume soft drinks monthly, while 26 per cent drink them on a yearly basis. Only 9 per cent of respondents do not drink soft drinks at all.

If a sugar tax were to be imposed, around 52 per cent of respondents see themselves reducing their soft drink intake, and another 23 per cent will stop drinking them entirely.

Meanwhile, 23 per cent of respondents will continue drinking the same amount of soft drinks, and only around 1 per cent will consume even more.

Sugar considered more addictive than coffee and cigarettes 

When respondents were asked to rank different substances based on how addictive they were, 18 per cent voted sugar as the most addictive, second only to drugs, which 41 per cent voted as the most addictive.

Caffeine and nicotine followed closely, with each substance voted by 16 per cent and 14 per cent of respondents respectively.


Whether a ban or a tax is imposed, the views of people on sugar would be “polarising”, Jake Gammon – head of YouGov Omnibus at Asia Pacific – said, adding that this was because “it deals with a substance that Singaporeans deem more addictive than nicotine”.

One thing’s for sure. With bubble tea being notorious for its high-sugar content, a sugar tax or ban will likely have the biggest effect many of Singapore’s crazed bubble tea fans.

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