Can a National Soda Tax Save America?
Before anyone buys a Big Gulp out of defiance, here's why a Bloomberg-style soda restriction might be good for the country.
It's plain fact that Americans drink way too much sugary stuff, from soda to deceivingly labeled "fruit" juice. According to Wired, we're drinking twice the amount of sugar since the late 1970s, and those drinks represent more than half of the approximately 500 extra daily calories Americans consume today.
We realize that you can drink whatever you damn well please. We don't need a nanny-like politician telling us what we can or cannot put into our bodies. This mentality is precisely why New York state court ultimately overturned mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal of banning the sale of 16 ounce soda cups.
Health advocates, however, don't perceive the soda ban so much as a violation of personal freedoms, but a crusade to make people much healthier.
In fact, a tiny, tiny tax on say Frappucinos, Slurpees or other sugary drinks could save countless lives and slash healthcare costs. Wired cites a recent study in Health Affairs that estimated how a nationwide one-percent tax on sugary drinks would over the next ten years prevent up to 240,00 cases of diabetes, 95,00 cases of heart disease, 8,000 strokes and 26,000 premature deaths. Wouldn't you now say that soda restrictions kind of makes perfect scientific sense?
Frank Hu, an obesity epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public health, told the publication that "sugar-sweetened beverages are one of the most important factors that increases caloric intake in our country — and it’s relatively easy to cut back on them.”
The fight against high-calorie beverages is not over and could one day come to a city near you. Bloomberg has appealed the decision, and New York state’s highest court agreed this month to hear the case. San Francisco is also considering a soda tax, and Mexico is considering a Bloomberg-style soda restriction.
Do you think we need a soda tax?