Prices are increasing on sugary drinks sold in Seattle, due to the passage of a new law that went into effect on January 1, 2018. The Seattle soda tax aims to discourage consumers from buying high-sugar drinks that have been linked to diabetes, obesity and tooth decay, while raising revenue for nutrition programs.
Seattle voters endorsed a 1.75 cents-per-fluid-ounce tax (equal to 21 cents per 12-ounce can or bottle) on the distribution of sodas and other sweetened beverages. In addition to regular soft drinks like Coke and Pepsi, the tax also applies to sports and energy drinks such as Gatorade and Red Bull. Diet sodas are excluded from the tax.
The Seattle soda tax revenue is expected to raise $15 million the first year alone. It will be used primarily to fund nutrition and education programs, such as Seattle’s Fresh Bucks program, which provides produce vouchers to low-income families.
Across the U.S.
Seattle is one of the latest municipalities nationwide that have voted in favor of soda taxes. Berkeley, CA was among the first cities to enact a soda tax in 2015, followed by San Francisco and, recently, Philadelphia.
While researchers at the University of Washington Department of Health Services will be studying whether the tax helps reduce consumption of sugary drinks, a recent Berkeley study shows that bottled water sales have increased as sugary drink sales have decreased. “I would say the Berkeley tax was a home run,” said Dr. Lynn Silver, an author of the study. “During the first year of the tax, people bought fewer sugary drinks, and more healthy beverages like water, unsweetened teas and milk.
Why single out sugary drinks?
Loaded with caffeine, calories and high fructose corn syrup, soda is a known contributor to tooth decay, diabetes, heart disease and other serious health issues – not to mention adding inches to the waistline. Liquid sugar in beverages such as soda, fruit punch and energy drinks has been shown to raise blood glucose levels quickly. Just one 12-ounce can of regular soda has 40 grams of carbs, equivalent to 10 teaspoons of sugar. Calories in soda and other sugary drinks quickly add up, and the math indicates that weight loss of up to 10 pounds a year can occur simply by swapping a daily can of soda with water.
Health-conscious consumers are looking for convenient ways to swap soda for healthier alternatives. HealthyYOU Vending provides healthy beverage alternatives such as bottled water, zero-calorie drinks like Zevia, plus 100% juice with no added sugars.