Soda taxes were passed in four cities during the recent election day balloting reports the Wall Street Journal, as voters answer the call to find ways to try to cut down America’s increasingly unhealthy love of sugary drinks.
Voters in San Francisco, Oakland and nearby Albany Calif. approved Tuesday a penny-per-ounce levy on nonalcoholic drinks with caloric sweeteners affecting everything from cola to sports drinks and ice tea to energy drinks. In Boulder CO, residents approved a ballot measure calling for a tax of two cents per ounce.
And the week isn’t over. Cook County’s board of commissioners—representing five million people in Chicago and surrounding suburbs—is expected to vote Thursday on a penny-per-ounce tax that also would include beverages with zero-calorie sweeteners like diet soda.
The taxes pose a rising threat to beverage industry giants like Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc.and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. after they spent tens of millions of dollars in recent years successfully opposing them in dozens of cities and states.
The next soda tax vote is set for Cook County, Illinois, this Thursday.
Reuters reports that the soda manufacturers and the American Beverage Association continue to fight the taxes.
Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and other companies in the roughly $100 billion U.S. soft drink industry are fighting the taxes at a time when soda consumption is falling.
They point instead to their efforts to reformulate products and broaden the range of drinks they offer to address consumers’ health concerns. More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese.
The American Beverage Association, a group comprised of makers of nonalcoholic beverages, said regardless of voter outcomes, it would continue working to cut calories.
“We respect the decision of voters in these cities. Our energy remains squarely focused on reducing the sugar consumed from beverages—engaging with prominent public health and community organizations to change behavior,’’ the group said early Wednesday.