Sugary Drink Tax Improves Health

Oakland residents have bought fewer sugary beverages since a local “soda tax” went into effect, and that is likely improving their health and saving the city money, a new study by UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley found.

According to the study publishing April 18 in PLOS Medicine, purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) dropped 26.8% – compared to similar cities not subject to a tax – between July 2017, when the one-cent-per-ounce tax went into effect, and Dec. 31, 2019.

The research comes a little over a year after the National Clinical Care Commission (NCCC) – formed by Congress to advise on diabetes policy – recommended that legislators pass a national tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. California cities were among the first to adopt such taxes, but beverage industry lobbying led state legislators to prohibit cities and counties from imposing new taxes on SSBs in 2017, though existing taxes in Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley and Albany were grandfathered in.

"Voters now have evidence that allowing such taxes can yield significant benefits to society, and we hope that legislators at the state and national level act on these findings." DEAN SCHILLINGER, MD

Past research has found consuming sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with a higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Just last month, a UCSF study found that SSB taxes in