Soda tax

Happy Thanksgiving! We are now on the threshold of another Holiday Season, for many their favorite time of the year.  And for good reason: celebrations abound.  Mostly its great–we all deserve (and need) to celebrate at year’s end.  But all of those parties often result in lots of sugary drink consumption.

Americans drink the most soda in the world: 45 gallons/person/year.  That’s 16 tsp of sugar for each person every day.  It is estimated that obesity costs the US economy >$190 billion/year, or roughly 21% of all national health care expenditures; obese individuals incur an additional $1152/year in insurance costs compared to $512 yearly for non-obese.

For those thinking that diet drinks are the answer I say: not so fast.  And it isn’t just obesity.  Due to both the sugar and the acidity, soda is a major cause of tooth decay in the US as well.

The issue of taxes on soda and sports drinks has been getting more and more traction lately.  This year 5 more locations have passed soda taxesover the well financed opposition of the soft drink industry.  Now, the evidence that soft drink taxes will help society to address the twin public health conundrums–obesity and tooth decay–is not conclusive, but it is quite strong nevertheless.

Those who know me personally can attest that I certainly have some assertive thoughts in public policy debates.  In this venue I mostly try and keep those foolish opinions to myself.  However, I will say here that I do strongly support soda/sugary drink taxes.  Individuals and entities arguing against taxes often state that “when you tax something, you get less of it.”  Intuitively that is true.  So–less soda consumption?  I vote YES.  And I encourage all of my readers to consider that position and to advocate in its favor to our elected officials.  Our children’s health will benefit, I believe.

Send along questions and comments, and thanks for following.

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