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Would a Tax on Soda Make You Drink Less?

America's soda obsession is believed to contribute to our issue of obesity. New York City is fighting back with its Don't Drink Yourself Fat ad campaign, but public health leaders want to do more.

For a while now, there's been talk about issuing a soda tax to reduce the consumption of calorie-loaded beverages including sodas, sugary fruit drinks, and energy drinks, to help lower the rate of obesity. The extra money made would help contribute to paying off healthcare costs.

The soda tax debate has been going on for a while. Those in support think anything that discourages people from buying soda will help Americans cut down. Those against it think that a simple soda tax won't stop people from drinking soda since you can't change people's taste buds. They feel that educating people about healthier choices would be more effective, since a soda tax may just push people to opt for other unhealthy choices. Another good point is that soda isn't the only food that contributes to obesity. What about fast food, candy bars, and desserts? Will those be taxed as well?

This soda tax is far from approval, but could very well happen — in a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 53 percent of people were in favor of the soda tax. So tell me . . .

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
atripp atripp 7 years
I drink soda every day and with every meal (so more like, 6 times a day). I'm at the lowest possible weight that is considered "normal" for my height, I have NO health problems, and I've also never had a cavity in my life (24 years). Soda is my indulgence of choice. If they tax it to pay for a healthcare reform that I don't support, and most Americans don't support, it isn't very fair. The fact that I drink soda isn't killing you. And I already pay almost $2.50 every time I drink one when I eat out. The tax on cigarettes makes sense because cigarettes kill others. I don't support a government-run health system, including Medicare, and I don't support this tax. I don't think any of these things are answers to any of our problems. Most people are obese because they are too lazy to care that they're obese and don't take care of themselves. And now everyone is going to have to pay for these types of people. It's disgusting.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
Tax the soda! Pay for the healthcare this country is in dire need of. I only drink the sugary stuff as a mixer anyways :)
konichiwacobra konichiwacobra 7 years
I don't drink soda, so personally it wouldn't change my habits. My problem is that this tax is under the guise that it will help with nutrition or the obesity problem. Just say that it's a tax on goods to help fund basic services.
littleblackninja littleblackninja 7 years
It wouldn't affect me. I don't allow that crap in my house. I think it is a great idea. Those who indulge in this type of bad behavior will be paying for their future, or present, type-2 diabetes and heart disease treatment. Also, why should those who do care about their overall health pay for the bad food choices through higher health insurance premiums? Plus many Americans have no sense of self-control. "I want what I want when I want it as much as I want it and screw the consequences" Look where it got us economy-wise! I am going to go one step further and say that those on food stamps shouldn't be allowed to purchase this crap. I don't want my tax dollars to pay for someone else's Coke and fried and frozen corn dogs.
syako syako 7 years
Comparing soda to gay marriage is what I like to call a stretch. :) You can be passionate about your cause, but please don't call me dumb because I have said absolutely nothing "dumb" in any of my comments. And it appears as if your "neither here nor there" argument makes no sense in this debate that your only tactic was to call me names. There's a little notice under the post new comment box that says "make sure it is on topic" and, to be quite frank, gay marriage has nothing to do with taxing soda. Like I said before, if you feel the need to discuss political topics further there are several sites on Sugar for doing so - tres, citizen 4.0, moderate sugar, liberal sugar, conservative sugar, etc. etc. But for the sake of this post, let's stay on topic and debate the tax on soda. Thanks.
ali321 ali321 7 years
Tallulahdahling I agree with you that obesity goes a lot farther than just drinking soda. There is definitely a psychological aspect for a lot of people. I know people that are over weight as well and the problem is that they can't stop eating. They do it for comfort. And sometimes I think they are in denial about how big they are. They know they are overweight, but they don't realize they are actually considered obese. They know it's unhealthy. They get told by doctors and dietitians, but the problem isn't that they don't know they need to eat less. It's that they're practically addicted to eating. There has to be something that combats obesity from that angle. Anyway I'm not really against the tax. But at the same time I don't like the idea of the government just randomly taxing things in the hopes that it will make people healthy. Why not tax ice cream? Why not give a tax rebate for eating healthy? But if that's as far as it goes and the tax isn't outrageous then I don't have a problem with giving it a shot. Of course I don't drink that much pop. It won't really bother me.
Asche Asche 7 years
@Anon: Shampoo?! I understand soda, I understand ciggs and liquor...but SHAMPOO?! haha
dani17731 dani17731 7 years
I just laugh when I hear people say soda. I think that most places in the Midwest call it pop. But no, extra tax wouldn't stop me from purchasing my weekend treat.
noxcatt noxcatt 7 years
@asche, i only went that strong to make my point, its hard to sit by and hear others complain about them liking freedom and not wanting the govt to impeade on it and its about a stupid little soda tax, yet there are So many people everywhere and everyday getting their freedom neglected. why dont those who "live in america and like their freedom" care that america has other huge freedom issues. If it was truly a place of pure freedom and choice, you'd be allowed to have and abortion, there could be gay marriage, etc. there wouldnt be religion interferring because not everyone is under the same religion or even under a religion so how could you say someones choice is sacreligious. Rediculous. all of it.
Asche Asche 7 years
@jrj073000: Is alcohol not taxed in your state? It's heavily taxed in the state where I grew up, so the state gov't make a high revenue off of it's sale. @Noxcatt: We all disagree (hell, I disagree with everything ;)), but everyone has kept it pretty civilized up 'til now. Please don't call other users "dumb."
onthebus onthebus 7 years
Soda is gross.
noxcatt noxcatt 7 years
@SYAKO i cant help but smile when you said, "I'm complaining because I live in America and I like freedom. I like being able to decide on my own if things are good or bad for me and if I will choose to partake in those good and/or bad things. No one else has any right to tell me that soda is too darn bad for me to drink." Boy do you sound dumb. When did we have freedom? How can you say you want freedom to have the right to choose what you drink without gov't intervention when someone else can't even have the legal right to marry someone of the same sex. Im not gay, but that sounds like its unfair to their choice. Their freedoms, regardless of religion. It all comes down to choices. I dont think a govt tax on soda is that bad especially when people cant control themselves. I aplaude those who can make good choices for themselves.
sarah-lynn sarah-lynn 7 years
I don't keep it in the house anyway for more than just for the occasional party for mixing (hey, if I'm going to bust my diet, I'm going to do it the right way!) I wouldn't tax soda, I don't think it's that damaging. However, fast food would be at the top of my list. That stuff is horrible. Sure, it would more than likely be like the cigarette tax (neither of my parents quit) but I know friends of mine would think twice before eating that garbage.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 7 years
No, no Asche - It would be the price of the soda + 9.5% City/state sales tax + CRV (mandatory CA recycling value fee) + the new SF soda tax + the federal tax that won't happen
jrj073000 jrj073000 7 years
I think as opposing drinks like Pepsi ( it would be much more efficient to impose a tax on alcohol.
snarkypants snarkypants 7 years
i doubt these "fat people" will lose weight just by taxing soda. pretty sure they got that way by consuming more than just soda. this is idiotic. what about all of those "juice drinks" that have even more sugar than soda?
Asche Asche 7 years
@wackdoodle: So would you have to pay a soda tax on top of a local soda tax? Sounds like SF would become even healthier! ;) @Anon: I don't think the system would be so Big Brother ;). MA has universal health insurance already, and any taxation on food had nothing to do with the insurance plans you have to buy (which are incredibly cheaper than the rest of the country b/c it's subsidized). Does your current insurance company see if you buy cigarettes or alcohol? No, because they have nothing to do with banking.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 7 years
Asche - I point you to Our lame-o Mayor Gavin Nosnothing is proposing a sales tax only on soda for SF. That is what I was speaking of and considering the Popsugar is based in SF I figured that that is what they were speaking of as well.
Liss1 Liss1 7 years
Yes, our coffers are running dry because the goverment is spend happy and gives money to everyone. yes, lets tax soda and then give billions more to banks so they can give out bonuses! :oy:
Asche Asche 7 years
AWESOME! Thanks Syako...I had no idea that existed on here. I look forward to debating your further :)
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