Would a tax on soda improve public health? In California, some lawmakers claim it will. But not all Californians are buying an idea that defies common sense as well as science.
Stephen Frank, publisher and editor of California Political News and Views, says the proposal to tax sweetened beverages being heard May 12 before the California Assembly Health Committee sounds like nothing more than a money grab for government spending.
Says Frank: “They want a tax on soda…claiming this will stop obesity and diabetes. Soda, they say, has too much sugar,” in a piece entitled, “Tax Soda: ‘For the Children’—Where Will Money Really Go?”
“If true why not a tax on doughnuts, cakes, cookies, tax the heck out of Mrs. Fields! Even better, why not outlaw all products with sugar.”
Well said. A tax on one product over an ingredient found in thousands of products won’t solve the complex challenges of diabetes and obesity. The science has been clear for decades that these conditions have many factors. One of those factors is certainly calories, but total calories in the diet, not just a small portion of daily calories from one source.
Which means education is the key to addressing obesity and diabetes. People need accurate, clear information on how to balance all foods and beverages with physical activity.
The beverage industry focuses on real solutions that bolster balance. We have worked with former President Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to create and support programs and initiatives that promote healthy lifestyles and choices for the long term.
Just last year we launched our Balanced Calories Initiative, a partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025. This is the single-largest voluntary effort by an industry to help fight obesity and it will transform the beverage landscape in America.
With this initiative, we are focused on bringing consumers the information and options they need to achieve a balanced lifestyle. Check out DeliveringChoices.org to learn more about our Balance Calories Initiative. And visit YourCartYourChoice.com to read more about why soda taxes are not the solution.