Taxing common grocery items like beverages to solve obesity is poor public policy. Not only are beverage taxes ineffective, they are extremely unpopular. In a recent Las Vegas Review-Journal opinion piece, a reader points out that soda taxes are just thinly-veiled money grabs.
"The real reason for all this: more money. I really don't believe proponents of this care about anyone's health. The[y] just want more money for them to spend and more control over what we do on a daily basis," Bob Swift says.
The reality is that politicians in many cities and countries are selling these taxes as solutions to serious public health issues when in fact they are really meant to fill budget holes.
We can make a real and lasting impact on public health challenges if industry and government work together to inform consumers about maintaining dietary balance and by driving behavior changes toward lower-calorie options.
America's leading beverage companies are doing this by providing more low- and no-calorie beverage options to help people cut back on calories and sugar, and placing calorie counts on cans, bottles, coolers and fountains nationwide. These steps can bring about real results in ways taxes can't.