Call for ‘chewing gum’ tax may impact on dental health
 

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Call for ‘chewing gum’ tax may impact on dental health

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Call for ‘chewing gum’ tax may impact on dental health

 

Call for ‘chewing gum’ tax may impact on dental health

The UK's over-50s are demanding a tax on chewing gum in a move to fund the clean-up campaign of the sticky mess left on Britain's streets.

With an estimated one billion pieces of gum being chewed by Brits each year, a 1p levy would raise £10 million and a 10p levy £100 million.

Gum litter is on the rise because chewers are irresponsible in disposing of their gum, a new survey suggests.

The survey – conducted by Saga, the magazine for people aged 50-plus – reveales that the over-50s are now keen for the government to impose the levy on chewing and bubble gum to fund a clean-up campaign.

But this could impact on the population's dental health as sugarfree chewing gum is part of the oral health regime recommended by dentists and hygienists as a way of fighting tooth decay.

There is overwhelming published scientific evidence from laboratory studies and clinical trials showing that chewing sugarfree gum, especially after meals, has many beneficial qualities.

The British Dental Health Foundation suggests: ‘Chewing gum makes your mouth produce more saliva, which in turn cancels out the acid produced in your mouth after drinking and eating.'

And the benefits of all sugarfree chewing gum and Wrigley's Orbit Complete specifically, is recognised by the British Dental Association, the British Dental Health, the British Dental Hygienists' Association and the World Dental Federation in recognition as a contribution to good oral healthcare.

But although gum providers like Wrigley try to integrate gum litter education into their marketing strategies, the survey maintains there is still no adequate enforcement for those choosing to spit out or drop their gum on pavements and roads.

Of the 14,178 people who responded to the Saga Populus panel, 82% supported the gum levy.
One in five (21%) believed the 1p levy per piece of gum was appropriate, while 20% thought a more punitive 10p per piece was better.

The Saga website  – www.saga.co.uk – suggests: This could be used to help offset the £150 million clean up costs paid by local councils.  (No estimate exists for the costs paid by business or individuals to remove gum from offices, shops and homes.)'

Emma Soames, editor-at-large at Saga magazine adds: ‘Look along many of our nation's high streets and you see polka dot pavements caused by gum. It costs local taxpayers millions each year to clean up the worst of the mess and probably costs businesses and individuals much more.

‘If each pack of synthetic gum cost 50p more, it would encourage miscreant masticators to think twice about spitting it on the floor. It might also make them more careful about how they dispose of it.'

The website concludes: ‘Despite all, the best efforts of chewing gum providers and campaign groups, too many people still adopt the “spit and go” approach to disposing of their chewed gum.

‘The over 50s clearly support the “polluter pays” principle but also that a levy will encourage people to move towards natural gum which degrades if not binned appropriately.  Perhaps unsurprisingly Londoners were the most in favour of a levy (84%).'


• Populus received 14,178 responses from adults aged 50 and over to its online poll for SAGA between 17-22 December 2009.

 Posted on : Mon 21st - Jun - 2010

 

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