American waistlines are expanding at an increasing rate and those looking to curb it have once again turned their eyes towards a soda tax as a way to gain leverage in the battle against bad health.
Three California municipalities – San Francisco, Oakland and Albany – have taken it to the ballot box asking voters to decide on a soda tax of a penny per ounce.
In Boulder, Colorado voters might well double that, if they give the nod to a 2-cents-per-ounce tax.
“The goal of taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages is to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, which science has proven to be directly correlated to detrimental health impacts such as diabetes, obesity and heart diseases,” San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Malia Cohen told FoxNews.com.
Opposing the measure strongly is the American Beverage Association.
“This is a regressive tax, it raises the price of groceries and it’s discriminatory because it singles out a single product in the grocery cart,” said ABA spokesperson Laura Kane. “Once the government reaches into the grocery cart, everything else is vulnerable.”
Slippery slope scare tactics aside, many health advocates and public officials are at wit’s end on how to curb increasing medical costs as many people are less inclined to take care of themselves.
Some say a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxation (SSB) tax is effective. One study modelled the effectiveness of a SSB tax in India and found that, “given that SSB sales continue to increase at the current rate a 20% SSB tax would reduce overweight/obesity across India by 3.0% and the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 1.6% over the period 2014–2023.”
According to PLOS research blog: “research shows that food and beverage industries often oppose this kind of taxation, arguing that the tax will inhibit consumer choice and the free market. A second major argument introduced by the industry is that taxation on SSBs promotes economic inequity and is ineffective by targeting poorer households.”
The ABA’s Kane agrees: “There is no single product that is responsible for obesity,” Kane said.
So far, Berkeley, California. is the only electorate that has approved such a tax –approving a 1-cent-per-ounce tax in the 2014 election.