U.S. Passes First Soda Tax


In a landslide vote, Berkeley, CA, voters said yes to increasing taxes on sugary drinks.

Updated 11/5/14 7:30 PM PST

Sugary drinks like soda will now cost you more-that is, if you live in Berkeley, CA. Yesterday, voters there approved a measure that will add 12 cents to the cost of a can of soda and 68 cents to the cost of a 2-L bottle, according to CNN.

In a landslide victory, 75% of Berkeley voters approved Measure D, which goes into effect January 1, 2015. Notably, Measure D does have a few exemptions, including chocolate milk, diet sodas, and 100% fruit juices. A similar measure did not pass in nearby San Francisco.

Measure D received support from the Berkeley Federation of Teachers and Berkeley’s school board, among others. Politico reports that beverage industry groups spent near $2 million to oppose the measure in Berkeley.

Berkeley and San Francisco are the most recent cities to vote on a soda tax. The concept is taking hold in other parts of the world, as well. Earlier this year, Mexico’s first sugary drink tax took effect. Could the Berkeley vote be the impetus needed for other U.S. cities to follow suit?

Howard Wolfson, senior advisor to Michael Bloomberg, said in a statement to the press: “Last night was a huge defeat for big soda and a big victory for public health. The results will surely encourage other municipalities across the nation to pursue similar initiatives to fight obesity and diabetes. We stand ready to assess and assist other local efforts in the coming election cycle.” Bloomberg, who, during his tenure as New York City mayor, tried to get a soda tax passed in that city, was one of Measure D's biggest financial backers, along with The American Heart Association and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Additionally, Americans will want to keep their eyes on the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, a bill the California State Senate passed this summer requiring this warning statement on sugary drinks: “Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”


Jennifer Grebow
Nutritional Outlook magazine jennifer.grebow@ubm.com



Photo © iStockphoto.com/Pgiam

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