Taxes on sugary drinks are often credited with reducing soda consumption by making the sweet beverages more expensive. The taxes may actually have a much smaller impact on how consumers view the sodas, say the authors of a study on the "non-pecuniary (non-price) effects of sugar-sweetened beverage policies."
For Americans, gaining weight seems to go hand in hand with getting older; the obesity rate for adults is twice as high as the youth rate. And now, the CDC pegs the adult rate at nearly 40 percent, up 2 percentage points in two years and the highest rate ever, while the youth obesity rate rose to 18.5 percent, up by more than a point and also a record.
The Cook County Board, overseeing the 41 percent of Illinoisans who live in Chicago and nearby suburbs, is expected to repeal its 1-cent-per-ounce soda tax during a meeting today, only weeks after it took effect. The change of mind in Cook County, the largest jurisdiction in the nation to tax sugary beverages, is a dramatic defeat for public-health advocates.
The U.S. appeals court in San Francisco ruled that the city’s ordinance requiring health warnings on display advertisements for sugar-sweetened drinks is a violation of the Constitution’s freedom of speech protections. A lawyer for the Washington Legal Foundation told the San Francisco Chronicle that the ruling, by recognizing “the right not to speak,” puts a cloud over government efforts to require labeling of foods made with GMO ingredients.
On a 7-1 vote, the Seattle City Council approved a tax of 1.75 cents per ounce on sugary beverages, such as soda, sports drinks and energy drinks, said the Post Intelligencer. "Supporters hope the tax will help fund educational programs and close the learning gap between white students and students of color, while also curbing consumption of unhealthy sugary beverages."
Voters in Santa Fe, New Mexico, decide today whether to adopt a 2-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages — not just on sodas, but on sweetened sports drinks like Gatorade, lemonades and caffeinated energy drinks, among others, says U.S. News & World Report. Artificially sweetened drinks, infant formula, chocolate milk, pure fruit juices, and weight-loss drinks like Ensure would be exempted.
The nation’s first soda tax, Berkeley, California’s one-cent-per-ounce levy, hasn’t impacted retail businesses, but it has reduced soda purchases by 9.6 percent, says a new study by the University of North Carolina.
The city council in Santa Fe, NM, scheduled a public hearing for March 8 on Mayor Javier Gonzales' proposal to put a 2-cent-an-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to generate money for early childhood education, says the New Mexican newspaper. The council agreed unanimously to call the public hearing after an advisory committee voted, 6-1, in favor of the soda tax.
Energized by victories in four cities and Illinois' largest county, Massachusetts state Rep. Kay Khan says she will introduce a soda-tax bill when the legislature meets in January, says public broadcaster WBUR-FM. Khan championed the tax in the past but believes this time is different: "I think it does make a difference to see that others are thinking about this, and you're not standing out there alone."
In a first-round vote, the Philadelphia City Council voted for a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks and diet sodas. Council members must approve the levy for a second time next Thursday to become the second city in the country with a soda tax, "but it appears they have reached the final deal," said Philadelphia Magazine.