There is a fierce political battle raging in Berkeley, California right now. Voters will decide in November if there should be a tax on soda to the tune of 1 cent per ounce. Legislation similar to this was blocked in New York City. The feeling is that if the tax doesn’t pass in California then it won’t pass anywhere else and the issue will be dropped.
The motivation behind the soda tax is the thinking that a tax will discourage people from drinking soda, which is unhealthy. The concept is controversial. Some at Stanford like Jared Haftel believe that it is not the government’s job to to decide what or how much people consume. Proponents believe it is simply a tool to stave off the obesity epidemic in America like the tax on cigarettes.
A study from the University of Wisconsin at Madison has shown that soda taxes do actually decrease consumption. Not by much, but they are effective. A soda tax was implemented in Mexico at the start of 2014. The tax has decreased soda consumption by 10% as drinkers switched to bottled water, which was the goal of the tax.
Soda is the main source of sugar in most American diets and thus it is linked to diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, low sperm counts and even dementia.
Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper have responded by claiming that they will work on their own to help people be healthy by selling their drinks in smaller sizes.