Does a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages work?

December 1, 2016

A study conducted in Berkeley, California, the first US jurisdiction to implement an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), found that consumption of SSBs decreased 21% in that city after the tax was imposed.

Does a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages work? A study conducted in Berkeley, California, the first US jurisdiction to implement an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), found that consumption of SSBs decreased 21% in that city after the tax was imposed. This compares with a 4% increase in SSB consumption during the same period in 2 nearby comparison cities that were not subject to the tax. Water consumption during this period also increased more in Berkeley than in the comparison cities (Falbe J, et al. Am J Public Health. 2016;106[10]:1865-1871). 

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Ms Freedman is a freelance medical editor and writer in New Jersey. She has nothing to disclose in regard to affiliations with or financial interests in any organizations that may have an interest in any part of this article.