Why Your Coca-Cola Could Cost a Few Extra Cents, Next Year

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SF Supervisor Scott Weiner Proposes Soda Tax 

    If you plan on grabbing a soda while dining in the caf or studying in the Atrium next year, you might want to bring a few extra quarters.

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener proposed a ballot measure on Tuesday Nov. 5 that would set a tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages, if passed.

The proposed tax would add 2 cents extra for each ounce of sugar-sweetened drinks — that is, non-alcoholic drinks with 25 or more calories per 12 ounces, according to Wiener’s press release.

This includes caffeinated beverages popular with late night study-ers, like soda, energy drinks, and bottled coffee drinks.

While it means that a 12 ounce can of sugary soda will cost 24 cents extra, the tax proposal was created with greater intentions.

“The proceeds of the tax will be legally dedicated to fund active recreation and nutrition programs in schools, parks, and elsewhere, for example, physical education, school lunch, after-school programs, [and] expansion of recreation center hours…,” as stated in the Oct. 29 press release.

Wiener has proposed the tax in response to the nation’s continuing rise in obesity and childhood obesity. The tax is estimated to generate up to $31 million annually and reduce the consumption of sugary beverages.

Senior media studies student Sarah Jainchill does not plan to alter her soda consumption because of the tax. “I hardly ever drink soda,” she said, “but if I want one, I still will get one. I think it’s a great thing that the extra money I pay will go towards promoting a healthier city.”

The tax does not apply to natural fruit or vegetable juice, milk, diet sodas, or medical drinks.

Junior Hailey Richards, who has worked in the caf for nearly a year and a half, said most students already opt for healthier choices when purchasing bottled drinks at the Grab-N-Go station.

“People always buy Smart Waters and Dasani, but the Odawalla smoothies and the Minute Maid juices are pretty popular, too,” she said. “People buy soda cups more than they buy actual bottles.”

However, some students, like senior nursing student Colleen O’Sullivan, just         purchase the soda cups to fill with water, as paper soda cups are cheaper and more eco-friendly in comparison to plastic water bottles.

“I think we’re back in the times in a lot of ways because in many other countries, the government has already been taxing the public on being overweight and trying to eliminate obesity. Being from the Bay Area, I feel as if we are progressive from other parts of the US and could as as role models for eliminating obesity and having a longer life rate in the Bay Area,” Jainchill said.

To be approved, the proposal must be voted on by two-thirds of the Board of Supervisors. If passed, the measure will appear on the November 2014 ballot.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The notion that taxing a single source of calories will reduce obesity is not at all rooted in science. Obesity results from many risk factors, such as genetics, inactivity, stress, age, overall diet, and more. It’s not uniquely caused by soft drink consumption. Not to mention the fact that real world evidence shows soda taxes don’t combat obesity. For example, West Virginia and Arkansas implemented soda excise taxes, yet these states continue to rank among the top 10 most obese in the nation. And, studies show that reduced calorie intake from soda could actually trigger increased calorie intake from other sources: http://bit.ly/mmmpt. Education – not regulation – is a more effective means to changing behaviors that translate to a healthier America.

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