Soda Tax, NYC

I’m going to take an unpopular stance and say that too much soda is just evil. (you know I'm right).

I'm not saying it's not totally delicious. Give me a Dr. Brown's Cream right now or a root beer float, oh boy.

However, it is best in moderation and as a nation we don’t seem to be able to do anything in moderation.

This sugary-soda tax idea ( New York Health Official Calls for Tax on Drinks With Sugar, by ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS, April 8, 2009 ) might put the onus on the state to help those that use soda as their only source of hydration to think twice about doing so by placing a tax on sugared sodas.

From the New York Times: Dr. Frieden and Dr. Brownell, director of Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, say that based on experience with tobacco taxes, a soda tax would be “highly effective” in reducing the $79 billion in annual health care costs associated with obesity and overweight across the country.

They argue that an excise tax would be more effective than a traditional sales tax and provide an incentive to buy less soda. The article says that since the mid-1990s, children have been drinking more beverages containing sugar than they do milk.

“Diet-related diseases also cost society in terms of decreased work productivity, increased absenteeism, poorer school performance and reduced fitness on the part of military recruits,” it adds.

In a recent interview, Dr. Frieden said that the Bloomberg administration had tried to combat obesity through calorie labeling, banning trans fats and serving 1 percent milk in school cafeterias.

But, he said, “Soda is the big one.”



Unknown said…
It probably won't get people to drink less soda, but it will increase the local government coffers, which are pretty darn low at the moment...

They've tried this rationale with smokers repeatedly (a habit that is 1) less pleasant that drinking soda; 2) more damaging to the body; 3) more of a hassle to keep up; and 4) already more expensive -for example, at close to $7 a pack total price in Washington State, the taxes cost more than the retail price of the cigarettes), and it doesn't work. Caffeine is addictive, and the form your drugs come in is important (you don't see a lot of cigarette smokers switching to less expensive chewing tobacco in part because the ritual is not the same for the two forms of nicotine). I wouldn't expect to see a huge drop in soda drinking unless the tax made it prohibitively expensive for a large part of the soda-drinking demographic.

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