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Prevention Institute alert: July 30, 2014

SWEET Act Would Curb Consumption, Support Health by Taxing Soda, the ‘New Tobacco’

Today, Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut took a giant step for the health of Americans: She and two colleagues introduced a national, penny-a-teaspoon tax on the sugar that’s packed into soda and other sugary drinks. The proceeds would be used to fund prevention and health programs designed to reduce “the human and economic costs” of diabetes and other chronic health problems related to overconsumption of sugary drinks.

With this bill, Rep. DeLauro is elevating to the national stage a conversation we as a nation desperately need to have. The bill is sure to be opposed by the soda industry and faces an uncertain future in Congress. But just as early proposals to limit smoking were dismissed and belittled only to become law when public attitudes changed, we believe the American people and our political leaders will come to understand the need to limit the consumption of sugary drinks.

Prevention Institute is proud to be one of the original endorsers of the SWEET Act. In support of the bill, Prevention Institute founder and Executive Director Larry Cohen made the following comments:

“Soda and sugary beverages are the new tobacco and the fight to reduce their marketing and consumption is the next great public health battle. I helped create the nation’s first multi-city no-smoking laws and advocated for years to increase the tax on tobacco. I see a sugar-sweetened beverage tax as just as valuable and just as groundbreaking.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages do extensive damage to our health, have no nutritional value, and are particularly harmful to children. Their extensive marketing, especially to children, low-income people and communities of color, is insidious and has created a nightmare of chronic disease, placing horrendous burdens and costs on our health system. Every step we can take to reverse these burdens is life-saving.”

We at Prevention Institute applaud Rep. DeLauro, along with her colleagues, Representatives Eleanor Homes Norton and Jim Moran, for their courage in sponsoring this legislation. We’re proud to support the national effort, just as we’ve endorsed a measure that will appear on the ballot in Berkeley, California, right in our backyard, to place a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages. We’re fighting for our health—and the health of our children.



Here’s a link to the full text of the SWEET Act. Give it a read—it’s short and, yes, sweet, and the first section lays out the rationale for why we need to get a grip on soda marketing and consumption.

Mark Bittman on Why It Makes Sense to Tax Soda

Bittman’s got the scoop: He had the privilege of introducing the SWEET Act to the American public in his New York Times blog yesterday. It’s a good read.

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