Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
The Richmond Academy of Medicine
More than two-thirds of Americans are clinically obese or overweight, and numerous medical studies indicate those individuals are at a significantly higher risk of developing cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other related medical ailments. The rising consumption of sugary drinks has been a major contributor to the obesity epidemic. Studies have shown that reducing sugary-sweetened beverages – defined by the CDC as any liquids that are sweetened with various forms of added sugars like brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar and sucrose with examples including but not limited to regular soda (not sugar-free), fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened waters, and coffee and tea beverages with added sugars – can lead to better weight control among those who are overweight. Studies have also shown that “a modest tax on sugarsweetened beverages could both raise significant revenues and improve public health by reducing obesity.” Additionally, the AMA recognizes that taxes on beverages with added sweeteners is one means by which consumer education campaigns and other obesity-related programs could be financed in a stepwise approach to addressing the obesity epidemic. In cities where a sugar-sweetened beverage tax has been implemented, sales of sugar-sweetened drinks are falling and sales of water, unsweetened teas and milk are going up which suggests that people are substituting sugar-sweetened drinks with healthier alternatives.
The Richmond Academy of Medicine asks the Medical Society of Virginia to support a statewide tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as a measure to help decrease obesity. Furthermore, funds raised by the tax should be used to develop effective and evidence-based approaches to addressing childhood obesity or health education.
• Mexico’s sugar tax leads to fall in consumption for second year running
• Obesity-related health care spending on the rise, study finds Advisory Board Daily Briefing
• Soda Tax in Berkeley – Does Taxing Sugar Really Work, Time article
• Time Article on Taxing Soda Background information can be found on pages 71-84 of appendix