Berkeley’s Efforts Suggest Soda Taxes Do Cut Soda Sales

Tax it, and fewer people will purchase it.

So it goes with sugar-sweetened drinks, new analysis suggests.

The California metropolis of Berkeley launched the nation’s first soda tax in 2014, and inside months individuals have been shopping for 21 % fewer sugary drinks. Three years later, 52 % fewer of those drinks have been being bought whereas consumption of water rose 29 %, the researchers discovered.

“This just drives home the message that soda taxes work,” stated research writer Kristine Madsen, school director of the Berkeley Food Institute at University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

“Importantly, our evidence comes from low-income and diverse neighborhoods, which have the highest burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, not to mention a higher prevalence of advertising promoting unhealthy diets,” Madsen stated in a college information launch.

The research exhibits that a soda tax can affect what individuals purchase and might be efficient in encouraging more healthy consuming habits. This might probably scale back illnesses like diabetes, coronary heart illness and tooth decay, which have been linked to sugar, the researchers added.

Sugar-sweetened drinks are very low cost, however value America billions annually, Madsen stated.

“They’d cost much more if the health care costs were actually included in the price of the soda,” she added. “Taxes are one way of taking those costs into account.”

For the research, Madsen and colleagues polled some 2,500 individuals annually in racially numerous neighborhoods throughout Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco.

In Berkeley, a big lower was seen in consumption of sugary drinks like sodas, in addition to sports activities drinks and sweetened teas and coffees.

People in Oakland and San Francisco, nevertheless, drank about the identical quantity of sugary drinks in 2017 as they did in 2014. That, researchers stated, implies that the tax, not developments in consuming, was answerable for the impact seen in Berkeley.

Oakland and San Francisco have since enacted soda taxes, which went into impact in mid-2017 and 2018, respectively.

Madsen cautions that taxes is probably not the one issue behind the change, because the research solely confirmed an affiliation fairly than a cause-and-effect link. But taxes ship a message about societal values and may have a huge impact on shopper conduct, Madsen stated.

Other research in Berkeley discovered that messaging alone can scale back consumption, she stated. “But people are still very much affected by what hits their pocketbooks,” Madsen added.

“We want to end this epidemic of diabetes and obesity, and taxes are a form of counter-messaging, to balance corporate advertising,” Madsen stated.

The income from Berkeley’s penny-per-ounce soda tax is essentially aimed toward supporting faculty nutrition schooling, gardening packages and group teams that promote healthy behaviors.

The report was revealed Feb. 21 within the American Journal of Public Health.

More info

For extra info on soda taxes, go to the Healthy Food America.

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