The American Heart Association has played a leadership role in each sugary drink tax campaign that has passed across the country -- from Berkeley to Philadelphia. Now we are pleased to be a part of the team advocating for the sugary drink tax proposed in Seattle.
Under consideration by Seattle’s City Council is a two-penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks like energy drinks, fruit drinks, sweetened teas and soda. Revenue would fund greater access to healthy foods through the popular “Fresh Bucks” program, expand early education opportunities, and support the recommendations of the Education Summit Task Force.
Sugary drinks are a major source of sugar in the American diet and the overconsumption of sugar contributes to the rise in chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, tooth decay and heart disease. Both modeling and now real-world examples have shown that by taxing sugary drinks, consumption of these beverages declines. Indeed, just last week a study was released showing that the sugary drink tax in Berkeley led to a decline in consumption, an increase in water consumption, and no economic harm to businesses.
AHA CEO, Nancy Brown recently shared a statement on the issue:
“This study adds to the compelling evidence that simply cannot be ignored. The residents of Berkeley, who voted for a sugary drink tax in their community, are now seeing the benefits of significantly reduced consumption of sugary drinks, significantly increased consumption of water and consumers are switching to healthier drinks. Additionally, Berkeley small businesses have not seen a drop in overall sales. This positive impact is magnified by the fact that the revenue from the tax is being invested in health and wellness across the city.
“I urge the beverage industry to pay attention to this growing evidence and embrace these policies that benefit the health of communities, local businesses, their company employees and the very customers they serve. By doing so even more communities, and especially children, will experience a lifetime of health benefits. Spending millions to fight local citizens working tirelessly to improve their community puts the beverage industry on the wrong side of health and history.”
This study adds to the strong research base that supports the passage of these policies. If you live in Seattle and you want to join our effort click here to message the Seattle City Council with a word of support.