Soda is one of the most common beverages on the market today It’s convenient to buy, served at pretty much every restaurant you walk into, and a relatively inexpensive treat. In fact, at your local Valero gas station, you’re able to buy a 42-ounce cup of soda for only 89 cents.
But with the easy accessibility of these sugar-filled drinks comes a variety of health complications people can face. According to the American Heart Association, “Frequently drinking sugar-sweetened drinks, such as sodas and sports drinks, was associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular diseases and, to a lesser extent, cancers.”
In an effort to try and change people’s drinking habits and in turn, improve people’s health, a 1 cent tax increase for every ounce of sweetened drinks was implemented in Berkley, California in 2014. And although people were upset, evidence suggests that the number of people buying soda decreased, deeming the soda tax as a success.
Inverse presents, “Before 2014, residents in Berkeley reported cracking open a sugary drink more than once per day (an average of 1.25 times across survey participants). But after 2014, residents reported drinking sugary beverages less than once per day — an average of 0.5 times per day across participants.”
When asked if this same effect would work for the entire state, California native Danny Miller says, “Probably not, look at how much cigarettes cost and how people go out and buy them. It’s out of an addiction in a sense, like how people are addicted to nicotine. Sugar is really no different. It’s something that could probably lessen how many buy it, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stop completely– that would take time.”
Regular soda drinker Tristan Jones says, “I think people will buy soda anyway. They know it’s unhealthy for them, but it’s like one of those guilty pleasure things.”
The answer on whether or not a soda tax will help the entire state’s health can only be answered once it’s actually implemented and the results turn out.