After implementation of a sugary drink tax in Mexico, sales of unhealthy drinks have fallen while sales of healthier drinks have increased. That nation, one of the most obese in the world, saw the sugary drink tax as a way to begin to put a dent in obesity there. Just this week, Berkeley, CA voters passed a sugar sweetened beverage tax that will take effect in that city in January. And an SSB tax could be a great way to start to address the problem of obesity here in Vermont.
The American Heart Association, along with the Alliance for a Healthier Vermont, will be pursuing a 2 cent per ounce excise tax on sugar-added drinks in an effort to reduce consumption of these drinks and fund obesity prevention efforts. Already 25 Vermont organizations have signed on to our efforts.
As our newly-elected state leaders start making their plans for the upcoming session, let them know that the 60% of Vermont adults and 29% of Vermont kids who are overweight or obese and the $202 million Vermont spends each year on health care costs directly related to obesity, should make this a priority.
Funds from the tax could also be used to fund health care and healthy foods for low income Vermonters.
For someone that drinks a 12 oz. can of soda a day, the tax might be an extra $1.68 a week that they’d spend. But, it would be their choice. And, if that funding could help a low income parent provide their family with an extra quart of berries, pound of beets or bunch of salad greens a week while off-setting their out of pocket costs for health care, isn’t it worth it?
Click on the following link to urge Vermont legislators to take action: http://yourethecure.org/aha/advocacy/actioncenter.aspx