U.S. Soda Taxes Work, Studies Suggest — But Maybe Not As Well As Hoped

The world keeps on turning with another new tax. It never ends. The states and governments think that taxing people for the things they love or want to eat and drink will bring in new revenue and possibly stop obesity, lung cancer and many other things. They did the same thing with the cigarettes so lets talk cigarettes first.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says smoking rates have fallen from 21 percent of the adult population in 2005 to 15 percent in 2015 when the agency conducted its latest survey. The smoking rate fell by 1.7 percentage points between 2014 and 2015 alone — a substantial decline, according to a report. Another trend has paralleled the recent decrease in cigarette smoking: Vaping has taken off in the United States. That has led some researchers to wonder whether some of the declines in cigarette use is a result of people switching to these vaping devices. At this point, there’s no data to show how much vaping is contributing to the downward trend in smoking.
E-cigarettes certainly isn’t a panacea. About 60 percent of adult people who use them also smoking cigarettes. Vaping also provides users with addictive nicotine doses. And public health officials are concerned that some youngsters who start vaping will then become smokers. While I am not an expert, most of you know that you can’t go anywhere that you don’t see someone smoking or lighting up. People sitting in their car at a stop light and smoke coming out of their windows. Vape stores are popping up all over the city, however, I appreciate a vaper vs a smoker, the vapers smell is much more pleasant. I myself vaped to quit smoking starting at a low level of nicotine and reduced down until I was vaping 0 nicotine. I still indulge from time to time to enjoy the nice blueberry smell and to get that itch to stop. I have not smoked in over 10 years and smelling someone who smokes it’s like licking a wet ashtray. However, there is that rare time that someone lights up and the cigarette smells so good it triggers that part that wants to pick up that cigarette even after 10 years. I do not believe that the numbers have dropped as much as they think because vaping is much cheaper than smoking a cigarette a 120 mil bottle of vapor-liquid costs 22 dollars and last a month. Far cheaper than a carton of cigarettes. I am sure there are people who vape more than 120 mils but its still a standing estimate by a vaper store I asked. They said return on customers are once a month, however, they have favors of the day where they can buy a 30 mil bottle for a cheap cost, those people come in and grab those special deals instead of buying monthly. Now the tax doesn’t seem like it worked as well as they thought, people find a way.

So let’s talk about soda and sugary drinks. The article below talks about how people are saying they do not drink sugary drinks but i think this is untrue. People who drink sugary drinks do not give it up easily I know that for a fact, being diabetic I still find myself cheating from time to time for that Route 44 Vanilla Coke at sonic after a rough day. Bad for my diabetes but good for the soul. I can go as far as say it probably can be described as comfort food. People will drive for that sale like right now Fry’s has Pepsi 2 liters on sale for 77 cents a bottle if you buy 4 at a time. I walked into the sugary drink section to get my water packets to flavor my water and bam the Pepsi aisle is decimated. Even if they were to tax sugary drinks the low-cost sales will still bring them in droves. They say on all sugary drinks including my crystal light packets, and milo water those things helped me get off the soda when I was drinking a 12 pack a day. But let’s talk about sugary drinks you can make, sweet tea, kool-aid, country time lemonade. If people would get rid of their sugary soda it does not mean they won’t replace it with something else just like cigarettes to vaping.

So they say the tax is good for us, to fight obesity, for our own good, but its not about that, they know people wont stop so why not profit from it. You be the judge. Article is listed below.

This week, the governor of Connecticut proposed a statewide tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. Several cities have already enacted such soda taxes to raise money and fight obesity. And there’s new evidence suggesting that these taxes do work — although sometimes not as well as hoped.

Kris Madsen, an associate professor of public health at the University of California, Berkeley, is one of the researchers who has been studying soda taxes, in part because she’s convinced that sugary drinks are a menace to society, a direct cause of obesity.

“It’s a pretty high bar for public health to be able to say that something is causing a major epidemic,” she says. “We can do that for sugar-sweetened beverages.”

Berkeley was the first U.S. city to tax those drinks, making them more expensive, and Madsen is leading a team of researchers that’s trying to see how the tax is working.

“We’ve been going out to the same neighborhoods every year for the last five years, and we’ve been asking people the same questions,” she says. Researchers interview people on the street, primarily in low-income neighborhoods.

They started doing this before the soda tax went into effect four years ago, and they’ve continued every year since. We saw a 52 percent decline in consumption over the first three years” since the tax went into effect, she says. “This has a huge impact.”

Madsen’s study was published online this week by the American Journal of Public Health.

Memories, of course, aren’t totally reliable; also, it’s possible that people in Berkeley may be underestimating their consumption because they don’t want to admit that they’re still drinking lots of soda.

Other researchers, meanwhile, are trying to quantify the impact of soda taxes by looking at sales data from retail establishments, including grocery stores and convenience stores.

Anna Tuchman, at Northwestern University, is part of a group studying Philadelphia’s soda tax. Philadelphia’s tax is different from the one in Berkeley. It’s bigger, and it also covers both beverages sweetened by sugar and drinks containing low-calorie sweeteners. This is partly because the goal of the tax is largely to raise more money for schools and playgrounds.

Tuchman says that sales of those drinks in Philadelphia have dropped sharply, by 46 percent, since the tax went into effect.

But there’s a catch. “We find a very large increase in sales of soda and other taxed products at stores that are located zero to four miles outside the city,” she says.

Basically, it seems that a lot of people in Philadelphia are driving to stores right outside the city to buy their beverages. This is especially true in the case of sugar-sweetened drinks (and less so of artificially sweetened drinks). When you take that into account, sales in and around the city dropped about 20 percent, not 46 percent. And sales of sugar-sweetened drinks fell even less.

This gets in the way of both of the city’s goals for its soda tax. “People are able to maintain their sugar and calorie intake, and the city is falling short in their ability to raise tax revenues,” Tuchman says.

Tuchman and her colleagues are still revising their paper; it hasn’t been formally reviewed by other scientists yet. Right now, though, it does show some of the difficulties that cities face with their soda taxes.

There are political obstacles as well. The soda industry has been fighting back, arguing that soda taxes are unfair to consumers and won’t really make people healthier. In fact, it recently strong-armed California’s legislature into reluctantly passing a moratorium on further soda taxes by cities in that state.

San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., however, have soda taxes already in place, and Seattle implemented one at the beginning of 2018.

Soda tax advocates, meanwhile, say that there’s a simple way to keep people from avoiding the tax by going outside the city: Just pass a tax that covers an entire state — or maybe even a whole country.

Mexico, in fact, put in place a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in 2014. That tax is smaller than the soda taxes in the U.S., and its effect on consumption also has been smaller. According to one study, consumption of sugary drinks fell on average by about 8 percent as a result of the tax.

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