Sugar tax in California curbs pop drinking

Could a “sugar tax” be the first step to addressing the obesity epidemic in the United States?

The community of Berkeley, California thinks so.

They introduced a substantial tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in March of 2015. The tax adds 12 cents to a 12 ounce can of soda priced at a dollar.

Since that time, sales of soft drinks have decreased by 10%. As a bonus, sales of soft drinks in surrounding areas fell by nearly 7%.

Although no direct correlation can be proven, sales of water in Berkeley rose by an incredible 15.6% after the tax was introduced.

In an article by the Guardian, they got the American Heart Association’s take on the reduction:

The American Heart Association praised study and the sugar tax. CEO Nancy Brown said: “This study adds to the compelling evidence that simply cannot be ignored. The residents of Berkeley, who voted for a sugary drink tax in their community, are now seeing the benefits of significantly reduced consumption of sugary drinks, significantly increased consumption of water and consumers are switching to healthier.”

A similar beverage tax was introduced on a grander scale in Philadelphia in February, 2017. According to the city’s website, the tax applies to more than just sodas: “This tax is on any non-alcoholic beverage, syrup, or other concentrate used to prepare a beverage that lists as an ingredient¬†any form of caloric sugar-based sweetener, including, but not limited to sucrose, glucose, or high fructose corn syrup.”

The tax adds 1.5 cents per ounce on sweetened beverages, taking a $1 bottle of iced tea to a $1.27. To put it into perspective, a 67 ounce bottle of coca cola would go from $1.99 to $3.00. It remains to be seen whether Philly’s sugar tax will have a dramatic impact on sales of these sugar laden products.

So, what do you think? Should a sugar tax be introduced across the states, or in Canada? Share your thoughts below!

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