More reports on: Health & Medicine

Voters in four US cities to decide on taxes on sugary drinks

05 November 2016

After Berkeley in California, became the first city in the US to impose a tax on sugary soda two years ago, on 1 January, Philadelphia will become the second to begin soda tax collections.

The election next Tuesday, would see voters in Boulder, San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Californiadecide if those jurisdictions would impose soda taxes.

The outcome of the elections will determine  whether a policy mostly implemented in Mexico would be adopted in the US.

Mexico has imposed an excise tax on the sale of sugary drinks on the advice of medical researchers that the measure would reduce incidence of heart disease and diabetes. It has seen a cutback of 12 per cent in the consumption of sugary drinks after the imposition of around 12 per cent soda tax in 2014, but according to a Wall Street Journal report in May sales were rising again.

Meanwhile, models suggest hundreds of lives would be saved and healthcare costs cut by $60 million over the next 10 years if the new taxes resulted in a 20-per cent reduction in soda consumption.

How the tax / health issues would be decided in those four cities was being carefully watched by the executives of the manufacturers of sugary drinks as also state and local health officials.

Meanwhile, commentators point out that Mexico had become one of the fattest countries in the world due to consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. In 2014, Mexico imposed a 10-per cent excise tax on the sale of sugary drinks.

Though beverage producers claimed that soda taxes would do little to cut consumption, however,market surveys showed that Mexicans reduced their purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages by an average of 6 per cent in 2014 per household.

Further, by December 2014, that drop in purchases was at 12 per cent.

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