Soda makers for years have lived in fear of local soda taxes that would hurt their businesses. When one passed on Cook County, Ill. where I live, a massive lobbying effort was launched that successfully repealed it.
Advocates of such taxes have cast them as public health issues, but here it was cast simply as a way to raise needed tax dollars. The thinking was the health argument is a hard one to sell to consumers who don’t want to give up their soda.
When soda taxes are enacted, they do cut consumption. The latest study on the topic, looking at a soda tax enacted by Berkeley, California, in 2014 shows that once again.
Consumption there dropped by half in the three years following the law’s passage, found a study done by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
“Residents of neighboring Oakland and San Francisco drank about the same number of sugary beverages in 2017 as they did in 2014, the surveys found. This suggests that changes in drinking habits were unique to Berkeley and not signs of a regional trend in drinking habits unrelated to the tax, researchers conclude,” according to a story on the report on Business Insider.
Health advocates who think soda consumption is bad for our health will rejoice at this news, but the beverage business is likely to now fight even harder to prevent such taxes in other locations.