by Marion Nestle
Mar 7 2010

Tools for promoting soda taxes

I’ve been collecting information about soda taxes.  If you think they are worth a try, as I do, and want to help get the New York bill (the Duane Bill) passed, plenty of background information and tools are available.

Tomorrow, March 8, The New York Academy of Medicine, the New York State Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Alliance, and the New York State Public Health Association invite you to a symposium:

A Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax for New York State

Monday, March 8 2010 from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Blue Room, 2nd Floor, Capitol Building, Albany, NY

Speakers include NYS Health Commissioner Dr. Richard Daines, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley, and Dr. Kelly Brownell from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy. The event is free.  RSVP to

Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about why these taxes are likely to do some good and are worth passing:

Convinced?  Want to help?

And just for fun, here is testimony from an official of PepsiCola opposing the taxes and a rebuttal from some group (sorry, I don’t know which).

Finally, the Los Angeles Times (February 21) had a terrific graph of the recent sharp increase in lobbying expenditures (in the rebuttal).  Given the mess in Albany, it will be interesting to see how all this goes.  Act now!

  • While these efforts are commendable and a legitimate way to convince people to cut down on soda, I feel they’re silly. The cost of soda is artificially low because it’s subsidized by our tax dollars. If we addressed the root of this problem, soda prices would increase automatically. I realize though that this would be a very difficult undertaking. Also see my blog post from a few weeks ago regarding the soda tax:

  • I don’t support a soda tax, not when we (the taxpayers) are supporting the production of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) with our tax money. We pay taxes to product HFCS (and other corn products), then pay taxes again to drink HFCS? Insane.

    Instead, I think polical capital is better spent ensuring that food stamp recipients can buy food at farmer’s markets.

  • gd

    why not cut off subsidies for corn and kill 2 birds with 1 stone?

  • I’ll be a the (prospective) SSB Tax symposium today!

    the Support link doesn’t work:

    redirects to the right place

  • I couldn’t agree more with scrapping the idea of a new tax and instead eliminating ag subsidies that distort the prices of soda in the first place.

    Instead of passing a new tax (after all, we should all know by now that New York State won’t be able to stop itself from wasting the money on something totally unrelated to obesity anyway), why not cut out the government-created distortion that’s been there all along?

    Casual Kitchen

  • Eliminating the corn subsidies would mean legislators on Congressional Agricultural Committees would need to gather the courage to do the right thing. A brave move that would show great benefits in future food choices, especially considering fruits and vegetables (even without redirecting these subsidies to healthy foods) would seem cheaper if junk foods made with corn syrup, corn oil and other subsidized crops were no longer so heavily supported.
    To get the current corn farmers to grow something else and pay them adequately would be a wonderful thing to do. But the Farm Bill won’t happen again until 2013? 2014? And with Ag committee controlling this legislation it will be a tough battle.
    The Soda Tax can be up for vote and implemented much more quickly and the public can start reaping the benefits with positive effects on body weight and diabetes.

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  • Molly Mulligan

    Doing a paper on the snack tax, do you have addtional websites or information Thank you . Molly

  • jonathan

    Once again, the government are trying to do the right thing the wrong way. Americans love freedom and not being punished for silly things like this. Also, if this does discourage obsesity and cause people to cut down on eating out or buying sodas, this would seriously cause even more job loss. Obesity is important issue but jobs are more important right now. Promoting more sports such as advertising little league sign ups more known and availible would certainly get children out of the house and teach good healthy competition.

  • due to the busy schedules from work, most people would just prefer to eat on fastfoods ‘`

  • i think that we should focus more on healthy eating to avoid diabetes and cardiovascular diseases””‘

  • fast foods are of course very popular these days because the price is cheap and there are lots of menu to choose from *

  • healthy eating should be our top priority since there are many junk foods and foods with no nutritional value these days ~-‘

  • of course when you dont have time to cook, fastfoods would always be the best option “‘,