Sugar drinks are harming America's health.
Rep. DeLauro's SWEET Act Would Raise About $10 Billion for Prevention Programs
The Center for Science in the Public Interest and other health groups announced their support of federal legislation that would tax the sugars in soda and other sugar drinks. Aimed at preventing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, tooth decay, and other soda-related diseases, the bill, introduced today by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), would levy an excise tax of one cent per teaspoon—4.2 grams—of caloric sweetener. That would raise the price of a 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola by about 10 cents—enough to put a modest dent in consumption, says CSPI, but also enough to raise about $10 billion a year for diet-related disease prevention programs.
The bill is the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act of 2015, or the SWEET Act, and is the same as the legislation DeLauro introduced last year.
"Building on the momentum at the state and local levels, the SWEET Act represents a bold federal effort to counter the soda industry's relentless and greedy marketing campaigns that promote soda-related diseases," said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. "Passage of this legislation would provide the resources necessary for greatly reducing rates of obesity and other soda-related health problems."
In November 2014, the voters of Berkeley, California, overwhelmingly voted for a one-penny-per-ounce tax on sugar drinks to help prevent chronic diseases in their community. San Francisco voters voiced their support for a steeper tax—two cents per ounce—with 55 percent voting for it, but it failed to garner the necessary two-thirds threshold. Soda taxes are being considered in the state legislatures of Illinois and Vermont.
Other groups announcing their support today include: American Heart Association, American Public Health Association, California Center for Public Health Advocacy, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, ChangeLab Solutions, Consumer Federation of America, Healthy Food Action, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, National Center for Health Research, National Consumers League, Partnership for Prevention, Prevent Cancer Foundation, Prevention Institute, Public Health Institute, and Shape Up America!
More than half the states already have small sales taxes on soda. CSPI and other health groups have been calling for larger excise taxes, typically on the order of a penny per ounce. In Mexico, a peso-per-liter tax on sugar drinks is credited with causing a 10 percent drop in soda consumption in that country in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the first quarter of 2013.
"States and local governments need money to help prevent and treat soda-related diseases, and we hope this federal effort inspires more jurisdictions to adopt similar measures," Jacobson said.
Petition to the FDA
CSPI is asking the FDA to determine a safe level of added sugars for beverages as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce Americans' dangerously high sugar consumption. Ten health departments, 20 public health organizations, and 41 health professionals signed a letter in support of the petition. Find out more here >>
Pour One Out
We asked our fans to watch The Real Bears 'pour one out' and then make their own wildly creative videos pouring out sugary drinks. View the winning videos >>
From Supersize to Human-size:
Shrinking Sugar Drink Portions
New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley and his colleagues from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene participated in a webinar hosted by CSPI. In September 2012, the New York City Board of Health successfully passed a proposal to set a maximum size for sugary drinks of no more than 16 ounces. This webinar described the rationale for the policy; decisions that influenced the policy; challenges and implications faced by the department; and advice for how to reduce sugary drink consumption in communities. Listen to the thirty-minute webinar to learn how to reshape sugary drink portion size norms in your community.
Listen to webinar recording
View New York City DHMH’s presentation slides
National Soda Summit
Center for Science in the Public Interest hosted the first National Soda Summit on June 7 and 8, 2012. The conference brought together some of the country's most prominent nutrition authorities, educators, and public health officials, all aiming to improve public health by reducing consumption of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
Soda Summit Highlights
Surgeon General's Report on Sugar Drinks
More than 100 organizations and individuals recently sent a letter to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, asking her to direct the Surgeon General to prepare a Report on the health impacts of sugar drinks and to issue a Call to Action to spur national efforts to reduce sugar drink consumption.
Liquid Candy Tax Calculator
Americans consume huge quantities of soft drinks, which promote obesity and other health problems. Obesity alone costs $147 billion a year in medical expenditures, half of which are paid through Medicare and Medicaid. Taxing soft drinks is an effective approach for cash-strapped federal and state governments looking for ways to fund health care and disease-prevention programs.
To estimate how much revenue the federal government or your
state could generate from an excise and/or sales tax on soft
drinks, enter sample tax rates into the Liquid Candy Tax Calculator. For technical information, see notes about the calculator.