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The War on Soda

By The War on Soda
On March 30, 2017

The War on Soda 

Alexander Francione

For The Clock

arfrancione@plymouth.edu 

 

For years, the soda industry has been vilified for the high levels of sugar in their products. A standard20 ounce bottle of Pepsi has 250 calories and 69g of sugar, 23% of your daily value of sugar. Many studies have proven that there is a direct correlation between soda and obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. With studies proving how harmful soda can be to one’s health, government has begun regulating taxes and bans on soda, but how successful are they?

In 2012, New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg proposed a bill: Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule, which prohibited sale of drinks with high levels of sugar that are over 16 ounces, from being sold by various vendors, including: stadiums, restaurants, and movie theaters. The proposal was met by anger across the country, politicians citing the government had no say on how much a person can drink, and people who just wanted to drink as much soda as they wanted. Although the bill attempted to cut down on obesity, it failed to take into account refills, as well as having no effect on convenience stores like 7-11 which is home to the world famous Big Gulp, a 32 ounce cup that may be filled with any soda the customer chooses. In 2014 the New York Court of Appeals deemed the government had no right to regulate the drinks, and the bill was repealed.

With the government’s attempt to limit soda consumption failing, new approaches were made. In 2014, Berkley, California became the first city to implement a tax on soda purchases. Residents of Berkley voted on the bill in which every non-alcoholic beverage that included an added sweetener would be taxed one cent per ounce, with the taxes going towards Berkley’s general fund. The tax on beverages would go into A study was done by UC Berkley that showed a 21% decrease in sugary beverage intake after the tax was implemented.

In 2016, Philadelphia was the first major city in America to propose a citywide tax on sugary drinks. The tax was set on January 1st, 2017 at a 1.5 cent tax per ounce, down from the originally planned 3 cent per ounce tax. Items bought in bulk are also subject to the tax, so a person would be paying tax on every bottle in a 12 pack of Pepsi. The money from the taxes would go into funding early education schools and help making them more affordable. According to The Washington Post, the tax generated $6.4 million dollars in February and $5.9 million in January. With the increase in tax revenue, Canada Dry Delaware Valley, a soda distributer in Philadelphia has claimed in an article with Bloomberg, business is down by 45% in just the first five weeks of the tax. With sales down, Pepsi announced it will lay off up to 100 workers in the Philadelphia region. Pepsi’s stock is at an all-time high of $112 a share and posted $35 billion dollars in revenue last year.

Even with the taxes on soda being put to good causes, many people oppose the tax. It also sparks the debate of how much the government should be dictating what we put in our bodies. It is also interesting how the soda industry is being singled out, but the candy or baked goods industries are unregulated. With all eyes on the soda industry in seeing how much money can be made from it, but also how many jobs are at stake, it may be a matter of time before more industries begin receiving taxes. One thing is for certain, people love their soda.

http://news.berkeley. edu/2016/08/23/sodadrinking/

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/ articles/2017-02-17/philly-soda-sellers-say-tax-has-reduced-sales-by-as-much-as-50 

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