The Problem: We Face a Serious Health Crisis
One-third of all children and nearly half of African-American and Latino children, are predicted to develop diabetes in their lifetimes. Evidence points to Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) as the leading culprit. Soda and other sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugar in the American diet, and are linked to increased risk of obesity and diseases such as diabetes, heart and liver disease, and the most common chronic disease among children, tooth decay.
Needed Action: Implement a Sugary Beverage Tax
We need strong policy to address this crisis by taxing companies that distribute sugary drinks. A November 2016 Ballot Measure will tax distributors of sugar sweetened beverages per ounce. These revenues can be used to support health education programs and efforts to improve children’s health across San Francisco.
The benefits of the tax are three-fold: It (1) Creates awareness and helps educate the public about the link between sugary drinks and chronic illnesses, and how the beverage industry targets its marketing towards youth and communities of color; (2) Reduces sugary drink consumption, and (3) Revenues can be used to support community programs that combat the impact of sugary drink marketing, and the negative health consequences of sugary drink consumption.
What is Being Proposed?
- San Francisco’s proposed measure is a penny per ounce fee to be paid by distributors on sodas and other sugary beverages with more than 25 calories per 12 ounces. Diet sodas, milks, and naturally sweetened beverages without added sugars would notbe included.
- The measure is a citizen’s initiative, to be placed on the November 2016 ballot by signatures of registered voters. The official proponent is Supervisor Malia Cohen.
Sugary drink taxes have been successful in reducing sugary drink consumption and raising revenues for health promotion. Mexico successfully passed an excise tax on sugary drinks, reducing the purchase of sugary drinks by 12 percent overall, and by 17 percent among low-income Mexicans. Berkeley’s sugary drink tax measure D passed with 76% of the vote in 2014. On Jan 20, 2016, the Berkeley City Council allocated $1.5 million of these sugary drink tax revenues to school gardening and nutrition programs, and for community agencies seeking grants designed to reduce sugary drink consumption and address their effects.