I've posted on this topic regarding the influence of the price elasticity of demand having a large influence on the demand for consumption of goods. It's truly basic economics. When a substance is addictive, and I firmly place tobacco and sugar in this category, the demand is very inelastic, meaning that addicted consumers are not price sensitive. It's been proven that the dramatically reduced use of tobacco since the 60s is a result of the fear of death rather than the taxes that have been levied on the substance. When people finally had access to factual information, the consequences scared them witless. I know this directly from growing up in the 50s/60s, my mother smoked, and when the findings about cancer links were confirmed in the 60s, she quit tobacco. Many others did the same over a period of time, as they became convinced about the health risks.
It will be the same dynamic for sugar. What will discourage the use of sugar are the direct findings linking sugar to poor health and the many diseases of metabolic syndrome including insulin resistance. Here are a couple pieces of information discussing elasticity of demand and why addictive substances for addicts are not price sensitive and why taxes are a waste of time for changing behavior. Certainly, taxes will derive revenue for the government, but that additional revenue is not always earmarked for subsidizing health treatments for the very addicts for whom the taxes are intended to "discourage" use of the substances. It's a shell game that the politicians play to give the voters the "sensation" of them taking action.
I'm using the term addiction because sugar lights up the dopamine receptors in the brain. The following article identifies factors that influence price elasticity:
The ten factors are: 1. The Availability of Substitutes 2. Definition of the Commodity 3. Durability, 4. Income level 5. The Proportion of Expenditure Spent on the Commodity 6. Time 7. The Number of Uses 8. Necessities and Luxuries 9. Addiction 10. The Level of Price.
There are certain commodities which people have become too much accustomed to use, for example, betel-nut and tobacco. The consumption of such commodities is not much reduced even when the price rises.
Again, elasticity becomes inelastic (lack of price sensitivity) for addicts:
3. Drug Policy and Drug-related Crime.The U.S. devotes billions of dollars to the war on drugs. How does this affect the equilibrium price and quantity of drugs? How does it affect the amount of burglaries and robberies by drug addicts to support their habits?
•Drug interdiction reduces the supply of drugs, which causes the new equilibrium to be at a higher price and lower quantity
•Because the demand for drugs is inelastic, this raises the total revenue received by drug dealers, and the total expenditure by addicts.Holding fixed the number of addicts, the increased expenditure is financed by increased drug-related crime.
•Better to try to reduce the demand for drugs (by education, for example), because price and quantity would fall, reducing crime.
Here's an article of how sugar and junk food impacts people to the point of developing addictive behavior for these substances:
I am strongly against taxing behavior, because it doesn't work, and I don't believe any government in the free world has the right to legislate their belief of good behavior related to one's health. I emphasize behavior related to one's health, as there are justifiable laws to protect one's life, rights, and property. What the government could do is to review the data and allow open discussions regarding the identification of healthy lifestyles and remove the agenda to subsidize unhealthy food and farming practices, update the dietary guidelines with fact-based findings of legitimately rigorous studies and successful clinical practices using lifestyle changes as a cure. But then, I'm also writing fiction in this case.