Health Trends

SodaBeast by Rob Pepsie: What even is a Soda Tax?

What is a soda tax, and what does it do?

Recently, the city of Philadelphia, a “soda tax” was passed.  This has the American Beverage Association up in arms, as their data differs from the results of the cities voters.  The American Beverage Association also cites the law as illegal.

So, what is this soda tax that has caused drama?  Well, essentially they are taxes on beverages that contain added sugar to them.  The idea is to help prevent some health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and dental caries.  The idea is to make something more expensive so people buy less of it.

So now the question is:  do they work?  Well, from my research, yes and no.  In Mexico, another country in which a soda tax was put into place, there was some decline in soda purchasing and an increase in bottled water sales.  So here, the marginal improvement is better than nothing.  One cited problem though is that it is unknown if consumers switched from soda to some other beverage that is equally as unhealthy.  Like bleach or hydrofluoric acid.  Actually, I think bleach or hydrofluoric acid might be worse than soda is from a health perspective.  It’s also hard to tell where generated funds from these taxes would go.  Some think that they should go back into healthcare costs, and I would have to agree.  Why would people pay taxes on something related to health, only to have that money be spend on something fucking stupid, like proper lawn maintenance at some building nobody goes to for no reason other than some chairpeople voted on it.

Essentially, I think soda taxes are just one tool we could use to try to get people to live a healthier life.  It’s not a be-all-end-all, considering soda will still be as available in towns without soda taxes.

So what do the readers think?  Are these taxes a good idea or not?  Does anyone live in an area with these taxes and want to share their thoughts?

By The Nutrition Punk

I am a dietitian living in Portland, Oregon. I write about a variety of nutrition and heath topics, with the goal of improving people's understanding of food and nutrition so they may be empowered against all the misinformation that is out there.

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