Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Dentists repeat call for sugary drink tax after new United States data

Dentists repeat call for sugary drink tax after new United States data

Sales of sugar-sweetened beverages dropped almost 10 percent during the first year of the tax, which raised US$1.4 million for child nutrition and community health programs, a new study showed.

A new study of the soda tax in Berkeley, Calif., shows that residents are doing what public health experts had hoped - they're ditching sugary drinks and opting for healthier beverages. And rather than costing the city, the soda tax represents a brand-new revenue stream, which Berkeley is using for important health programs.

George Osborne announced the introduction of the tax on sugary drinks in last year's Budget, claiming it would help curb the nation's obesity epidemic. Proponents of the tax have said that its primary goal was to reduce consumption of sugary drinks as a way to fight diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and other health problems that disproportionately affect minority people, many of whom are poor. Politico's Morning Agriculture reported that two opposing political action committees have taken in a combined $1.6 million in the city's soda tax battle.

CT lawmakers are considering issuing a tax on sugary drinks, according to Fox 61.

The war on obesity and sugary drinks has been gaining traction all over the USA but beverage companies are fighting back.

Other countries have also adopted similar taxes on sugary beverages. For soda and energy drinks the tax was fully passed through (1.09c per oz).

"It can not distinguish the longer-term effects of education and intensive media debate on SSBs in the communities surrounding the San Francisco Bay as a result of tax and other pre-existing campaigns in both Berkeley and San Francisco in 2014, although baseline store price survey and consumption data were collected after those campaigns but before tax implementation, mitigating this issue somewhat", they explain.

Soda taxes in one form or another, some with the intent of improving health and others simply to raise tax revenue, have been approved in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif., Boulder, Colo., Philadelphia, and Cook County, Ill. In the study of 26 stores, the tax was fully passed on in large (1.07c per oz) and small chain supermarkets and chain gas stations (1.31c per oz). However, stores in Berkeley fared better than stores in surrounding areas.

"Berkeley's innovative tax on SSBs was mostly, though not uniformly, passed through to consumers, and sales of SSBs declined significantly, consistent with published price elasticity estimates", Silver and colleagues said. "While telephone respondents did not report changes in shopping location, scanner data were consistent with some increased purchasing of SSBs in neighboring cities", they added. While the tax seems to be molding consumer behavior, many working in the soft drink and grocery industries have suffered from fewer sales.

"The findings of this study, while limited by its observational design, suggest that SSB taxes may be effective in shifting consumers to purchase healthier beverages without causing undue economic hardship and while raising revenue for social objectives", they concluded.

The study was supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which has supported soda taxes in the United States and other countries.

Like this: