Salt tax could reduce population's salt intake

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7471.918-c (Published 14 October 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:918
  1. Nick Wilson (nwilson{at}actrix.gen.nz), senior lecturer (public health)
  1. Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Otago University, Wellington, New Zealand

    EDITOR—Eaton's news item on the campaign to reduce salt intake by the UK's food safety watchdog describes processed foods as a key factor in high population salt intakes.1 A comparatively simple way to reduce the use of salt by manufacturers of processed food would be to introduce a salt tax.

    The potential public health and economic benefits of a salt tax as part of a range of interventions reducing salt has been identified in modelling work.2 Good evidence exists around the impact of existing excise taxes on protecting public health from tobacco related harm and alcohol misuse.3 4

    Furthermore, the revenue from a salt tax could be used to fund information initiatives on nutrition or to subsidise an expansion of programmes that provide nutritious foods (such as fresh fruit) to schoolchildren. Such uses of the tax revenue would also be important to ensure public acceptability of a salt tax.


    • Competing interests None declared.


    1. 1.
    2. 2.
    3. 3.
    4. 4.