A Legal and Practical Guide for Designing Sugary Drink Taxes


Sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugars in the American diet and are a major contributor to our country’s high rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, poor oral health, and other chronic health conditions, as well as associated health inequities among racial and income groups. Public health experts target reductions in sugary drink consumption as a key strategy for improving community health outcomes and reducing health disparities.

In the last few years, one sugary drink reduction strategy has received growing support from both the public and policymakers: taxing sugary drinks to both decrease consumption and raise revenues that can be invested in creating healthier communities and addressing social and health inequities.

Healthy Food America and ChangeLab Solutions created A Legal and Practical Guide for Designing Sugary Drink Taxes for local officials and advocates who are interested in pursuing sugary drink taxes and for anyone interested in learning more about this strategy.

The guide begins by answering the question: Why enact a sugary drink tax? It then identifies best practices and potential pitfalls in designing and implementing sugary drink taxes, focusing on considerations that affect the scope and size of a proposed tax, as well as allocation of tax revenue. The guide briefly examines the process for passing and implementing a tax and ends with a discussion of the potential challenges that future tax efforts might face.

If you have questions about adopting a sugary drink tax in your community, please contact Healthy Food America, ChangeLab Solutions, or a local attorney. Check out Healthy Food America's tools and publications on reducing sugary drinks as well as ChangeLab Solutions' other resources.

Be sure to subscribe to join Healthy Food America’s email list, and ChangeLab Solutions' email updates. Please support Healthy Food America’s work to make healthy food more accessible and exposure to junk food less common.


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