Sugar-sweetened beverages are a known contributor to several health issues, including poor diet quality, weight gain and diabetes. While several studies have shown that taxing sweetened beverages significantly reduces purchasing, there are questions about whether the taxes place a greater economic burden on lower-income households.
New research from faculty within the UW Department of Health Systems and Population Health (HSPop), published June 2 in Food Policy, addressed the issue by examining the economic equity impacts of sweetened beverage taxes in three cities — Seattle, San Francisco and Philadelphia.
“Sugar-sweetened beverages are the new tobacco,” said James Krieger, senior author and clinical professor in HSPop. “Public health researchers and others have been working for some time to reduce sales of these beverages. Taxes worked well to reduce tobacco purchases, and they’ve been applied and appear to work equally well in sugary drinks.”