As new information emerges about Mexico’s soda tax, the data continues to show that it is not the solution activists claimed it would be. An attorney and adjunct professor at George Mason University Law School is the latest in a chorus of voices to question the effectiveness of the tax.
In an article for Reason.com, Baylen Linnekin breaks down the evidence piling up against the tax. “It's no surprise that a tax on sugary drinks might cut into consumption of those drinks. But there's never been any reason to believe that, say, a 10-percent decrease in the small percentage of the calories people consume (soda accounts generally for around 5 percent) would result in decreases in obesity levels, or in calories consumed,” said Linnekin.
Pulling data from the British Medical Journal, Urban Institute and others, Linnekin explains why a small drop in consumption of a few products is doing nothing for waistlines in Mexico. “Soda and candy taxes do not necessarily decrease caloric intake… the drop in calories is offset by an increase in calories consumed in other food and drink."
He also notes an important point from Time's Alexandra Sifferlin’s article about the British Medical Journal study - “The study is observational and cannot prove causality.”
Linnekin’s conclusion? Taxes do not improve public health.
“Obesity is a real problem. Food taxes are not a real solution to that problem,” says Linnekin. And America’s leading beverage companies are doing our part to proactively offer real solutions to this public health challenge. Whether through our Balance Calories Initiative, Clear on Calories or Delivering Choices, we are working with government agencies, community organizations and the public to help everyone find their balance. Learn more here.