Federal Soda Tax Legislation introduced into Congress

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If passed, the new bill would require a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks.

  • Impose an excise tax of one cent per 4.2 grams — one teaspoon — of caloric sweetener (such as sugar or high fructose corn syrup) in beverages such as soft drinks, energy drinks, and sports drinks. Exceptions are included for liquids such as milk, plant-based milk substitutes, and liquids composed of pressed fruit.  NOTE: An excise tax is one that’s paid when purchase are made on certain goods, such as gasoline.
  • Require that funds raised as a result of the tax be put toward initiatives designed to prevent, treat, and research diet-related health conditions (such as obesity and diabetes) in priority populations, and for other purposes. The bill identifies priority populations as children, low-income areas African-American and Hispanic communities, and those where there are higher rates of obesity and diabetes.

More than half of U.S. states already impose a tax on soft drinks. The Center for Science in the Public Interest states that a federal excise tax would raise the price of a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola by about 10 cents — enough to put a modest dent in consumption, but also enough to raise an estimated $10 billion a year for diet-related disease prevention programs.

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Research shows that overconsuming sweetened foods leads to more intense cravings for them.

The American Heart Association, American Public Health Association, Latino Coalition for Healthy California, Public Health Institute, and the National Alliance for Hispanic Health have announced support of the measure.

The American Beverage Association stated their opposition to the tax, but said that  “the industry is focused on meaningful solutions … we have voluntarily removed full-calorie soft drinks from schools nationwide, placed calorie labels on all of our packaging as well as on vending machines, supported community programs that promote balanced diets and physical activity and much more.”

Are you in favor of soda taxes? Share your answer with us below — and with your federal representative.

For Experience Life‘s coverage on the impact of soft drinks and sugar on your health, see the “Related Articles” section below.

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Heidi Wachter is the community engagement specialist for Experience Life.

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