by Marion Nestle
Feb 14 2009

Soda tax: just a public policy argument?

Remember New York State Governor David Paterson’s idea about taxing sodas to raise funds for health care? According to news accounts, New York State Governor, David Paterson, now says his proposal to tax sodas is just a rhetorical device.  He didn’t really think it would ever pass.  He just wanted people to talk about how to do something to prevent childhood obesity.  Chalk this one up as a win for soda companies?

Update February 19: here are Kelly Brownell’s thoughtful comments on the matter.

  • I’m wondering why soda? There are so many other food and beverages that could be targeted as well, why is soda getting singled out? Fixing the obesity epidemic will not come from targeting sodas only. Soda companies seem to have permeated every food market, with their well-developed supply chains. Maybe we can learn how to use their model and work with them to bring better foods to more people. When it makes business sense to sell healthy foods, businesses will. Taxing a single item like soda will do little, if anything at all to fix obesity.

  • Kathy W

    I disagree with you. If you saw how many young kids, teenagers, are drinking soda, you would see why so many people are against sodas. Soda has no nutritional value what so ever. I am all for taxing sodas.

  • tmana

    Today’s Lancet includes a thoughtful article on the effects of “fat taxes”, “healthy food” subsidies, and their effects on the poor.