Obesity has become a major health issue in the US. Currently 66% of the adult population is overweight with over 30% being considered obese. The percentage of children with obesity in the United States has tripled since the 1970’s. Today one in five school-age children (ages 6-19) is considered obese. One of the major causes for the increases in adult and childhood obesity rates is the consumption of high sugar content beverages (primarily soda type beverages). In an effort to try and stem the tide in the rise in obesity, states and/or cities are implementing taxes on these sugary drinks.
- Read the most current articles regarding soda taxes by clicking on the following links. https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/6/6/15745908/soda-tax-seattle-philadelphia-sugar-drinks (Links to an external site.).
- The law passed by San Francisco in 2015 would require beverage advertisements within city limits to include warnings that drinking sugary drinks contribute to health issues and is part of a campaign to reduce consumption of sweet beverages as a way to combat obesity, diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay.
- https://fox11online.com/news/nation-world/federal-court-blocks-san-francisco-warning-on-soda-ads (Links to an external site.)
- In June, 2018, the state of California struck a bargain with the major soda companies that would prevent cities from imposing any new taxes on groceries (soda, beverages, etc..) until 2030, effectively reducing the effect of the Berkeley tax had on soda sales and the lost revenue.
- Just recently in January 2019, the federal court blocked San Francisco law requiring health warnings on advertisements for soda and other sugary drinks, arguing that the law violates constitutionally protected commercial speech.
- Two recent studies (Feb. and May 2019, JAMA) state that the taxes may actually be working in reducing consumption of sugary beverages.
Some say that this is an example of government control, while other applaud the decision. You still have the freedom of choice, drink sodas and sugary drinks if you want or don’t drink them.
Should cities be allowed to implement such a tax? Support your position with the evidence you find most compelling.
If you are for the tax, state the ways in which you think the tax revenue will best be spent.
If you are against the tax, try to suggest alternative ways of dealing with the obesity and diabetes epidemics.