On Monday, March 15th, the American Heart Association hosted a press conference at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford in support of a sugary drink excise tax.
hero_image_alt_text===An image of Representative Jonathan Steinberg at an AHA press conference.
The press conference was highlighted by Representative Jonathan Steinberg (D- Westport), who is the Co-Chair of the Public Health Committee, and Dr. Tatiana Andreyeva, Director of Economic Initiatives for the UCONN Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The event was also well attended by both press and advocates alike.
Sugary drinks have been identified as the primary source of added sugars in American’s diets. Their increased consumption has been associated with rising obesity rates and increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tooth decay, as well as certain cancers.
Imposing an excise tax on sugary drinks has been shown to change consumer behavior. In a recently published study of Berkeley, CA’s sugary drink tax, which was passed in 2015, data shows that sales of taxed sugary drinks have fallen by almost 10%, while sales of untaxed beverages, such as bottled water, have increased by 3.5%. Passing a sugary drink excise tax in CT would not only result in a positive public health impact, but it would also raise $145M annually in revenue, which could then be used to fund obesity prevention & education, as well as other valuable health programs. A little change could indeed make a big difference!