Are sugary drink taxes working? Early evidence is promising

sugarytaxresearchthumb.gifIntroduction: After years of speculation about the effects of sugary drink taxes, evidence on their impact has grown rapidly in the last 1-2 years. Past commentaries in favor of sugary drink taxes were based largely on modeling studies and parallels to tobacco taxes that have been highly effective. Real-world evidence on sugary drink taxes was limited because no large sugary drink taxes had been implemented and rigorously evaluated. This changed after Mexico and Berkeley, CA passed large sugary drink taxes in 2014. Since then, several studies have documented the effects of these taxes on prices, purchases, and consumption of sugary drinks. Several modeling studies have also projected the long-term impact that taxes could have on population health.

As momentum for sugary drink taxes continues to grow, it is useful to step back and review the evidence that has accumulated. In this brief, we review evidence from Mexico and Berkeley, as well as recent modeling studies. This includes an assessment of whether industry counterarguments to sugary drink taxes hold up to scrutiny.


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