Sugary beverages are readily available almost anywhere you can buy food. Often, these drinks are cheap, and many consumers tend to gravitate toward them instead of healthier options. Across the country, soda taxes have helped decrease consumption of these beverages and improve public health.
Cities in California, Pennsylvania, and Colorado have seen major success with soda taxes. After Berkeley, California implemented a soda tax, the city saw sugar sweetened beverage consumption fall 21 percent, and water consumption rose 63 percent. Unfortunately, California just passed a statewide ban on future taxes on sugary beverages for the next 12 years.
Low-income communities and communities of color are unfairly and disproportionately targeted by sugary beverage ads. This targeting creates huge gaps in public health along racial and economic lines. Soda taxes offer a meaningful solution to the health equity problem.
Decreased sugary drink consumption means decreased health care costs and improved life expectancy. Despite this, most beverage companies are more interested in preserving their profits.
Although the state could benefit from it, Arizona will not be introducing a soda tax any time soon. As of March 16, 2018, soda taxes have been banned in Arizona. Governor Doug Ducey signed House Bill (HB) 2484, which requires all food and beverages to be taxed equally.
Soda taxes are banned now, but Arizonans were open to the idea when polled about it. A recent poll showed that if the money collected was used to fund education, 59 percent of Arizonans would support a soda tax. Sugary beverage taxes have the ability to fund things such as education, nutrition initiatives and other programs to address prevention of chronic health issues – especially in children. They could save billions in healthcare costs, and generate up to $12.5 billion in revenue nationally.
A soda tax could have tremendously helped Arizona. Food policy is vital to the health and well-being of everyone, and this only reinforces the importance of supporting good policy. Even though this bill was a loss, the fight for public health does not end here. Keep up with Pinnacle Prevention on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter for updates and insights on our work to make Arizona communities happier and healthier each and every day.
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