Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages have the potential to make our kids healthier. Introduced as the SWEET Act in 2014, the bill would add a 1% tax per every 4.2 grams of added sugar in beverages.
The United States hasn’t implemented a nationwide sugar tax yet, but 6 cities have put a higher price tag on the sweet stuff. There’s certainly one sweet advantage: less sugar could mean less pain for pearly whites.
Here are 3 Q&As to help you decide your stance on sugar taxes:
If sugary drinks are taxed, where will the money go?
The extra cash earned from the taxes would depend on the city in which they’re enacted. For example, the city of Philadelphia began collecting the tax at the beginning of 2017. The money is planned to fund city programs, education, and parks. And there’s a lot to go around; an estimated $300 million per year can be gained from these taxes.
What is the impact on our health?
One study estimates that reduction of sugary drink consumption by 15% would lead to 269,000 fewer oral health problems. Additionally, implementing similar taxes in Mexico lead to a 12% decrease in sweetened beverage consumption. If the United States follows in Mexico’s footsteps, we could lower consumption of empty calories and decrease cavities for our families.
In addition to candy and other sweetened junk foods, sugar-based beverages are an easy go-to for households. Candy is often considered a “treat” when juice is considered a “normal” part of a packed lunch or after-school snack. Additionally, juice and soda generally have little to no nutritional value. The point of taxing sugary beverages is to change buying behavior and help children reduce their consumption
Boulder recently enacted a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, becoming the first Colorado city to do so. Visit our Cavities Get Around campaign to learn more about the effects sugar has on teeth.