Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Soda taxes: Lobbyists vs. Public health

with 3 comments

And the politicians went with the lobbyists, of course. Public Health is all very nice, but Public Health does NOT give large sums of money to legislators, who are much more interested in getting money than in Public Health. Marion Nestle at Food Politics:

By analogy with cigarettes, taxes on sodas might discourage people—especially young people—from consuming sugary drinks.  This might help with weight issues.

According to a new analysis by USDA economists,

A tax-induced 20-percent price increase on caloric sweetened beverages could cause an average reduction of 37 calories per day, or 3.8 pounds of body weight over a year, for adults and an average of 43 calories per day, or 4.5 pounds over a year, for children. Given these reductions in calorie consumption, results show an estimated decline in adult overweight prevalence (66.9 to 62.4 percent) and obesity prevalence (33.4 to 30.4 percent), as well as the child at-risk-for-overweight prevalence (32.3 to 27.0 percent) and the overweight prevalence (16.6 to 13.7 percent).

Soft drink companies know this all too well.  Hence, intense industry lobbying.  In the case of New York State, the lobbying succeeded.  Soda taxes are history (for now).

As the New York Times explains:

Final lobbyist filings are not yet in, but estimates of the amount spent…range from $2.5 million, by Mr. Finnegan’s count, to $5 million, by the beverage industry’s count. The American Beverage Association spent $9.4 million in the first four months of the year to oppose New York’s soda tax, according to a search of public lobbying records by the New York State Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Alliance. Most of the money was spent on advertising, media and strategy.

This is a setback, but probably temporary.  Sooner or later, soda taxes will come.  Bring on the research!

Addition, July 5: Harvard researchers have just published a paper in the American Journal of Public Health showing that raising the price of sodas in a hospital cafeteria does indeed discourage sales.

Written by Leisureguy

5 July 2010 at 1:23 pm

3 Responses

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  1. I enjoy an occasional Coca-Cola from time to time. Having said that, a tax on soda is absurd.



    17 March 2019 at 5:41 pm

  2. Taxes are often applied to discourage consumption of items, generally referred to as “sin taxes.” I don’t find them absurd, particularly when the revenue collected is appropriately spent—e.g., cigarette taxes used for lung cancer research and treatment for the poor; alcohol taxes used for alcohol education and treatment; and the link.

    Soda, of course, is extremely unhealthful—basically, they are simply sugar and water. Given sugar’s role in destroying health, a tax on sugar with revenue devoted to diabetes research and treatment seems reasonable, not absurd. Of course, I will say that the US government actually subsidizing sugar product is absurd.



    17 March 2019 at 5:48 pm

  3. No argument there.



    17 March 2019 at 7:37 pm

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