Believe it or not, extra taxing sometimes works. It made residents of the Bay Area cities drink less soda. Following a November 2014 vote on soda taxes, the residents of the San Francisco area have decided to put a 1 percent tax on sugary drinks.
A recent study from the UC Berkeley revealed that inhabitants of low-income neighborhoods in Berkeley have changed their drinking habits and are drinking less sugary drinks, after the landmark decision to pass the soda tax two years ago.
Voters from Berkeley gave their unprecedented support for a 1-cent-per-ounce tax, which applied to all sugary beverages, in November 2014. This made Berkeley the first American city to approve a controversial tax, which aims to pin down obesity and diabetes. The tax went into effect the following March.
Supporters are doing their best to introduce it in Oakland, Albany, and San Francisco. The study revealed that upon implementation, there was a 21 percent drop when it came to sugary beverage drinking. The highest decrease happened in the minority, poorer areas in Berkeley.
Malia Cohen, San Francisco Supervisor, has gone from door-to-door in neighborhoods like Bayview-Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley or Tenderloin, to raise awareness from residents regarding the health dangers of drinking sugary beverages.
She also believes that the increased public attention on sugary drinks happened because of the success following the campaign which introduced the tax.
She declared that people are willing to make a change, once you explain to them what the tax is really about and how soda affects their long-term health – according to Cohen, who grew up in Bayview.
The survey will be published in the American Journal of public Health. Opinion researchers asked people in the busy commercial, but poor areas about their drinking habits. They wanted to know what the inhabitants’ opinions were before, and after the campaign on soda and the tax took place.
In total, 2,600 people answered the researchers’ questions. Those living in Berkeley were found to drink 21 percent less sugary beverages. Oakland residents reported a 4 percent rise.
63 percent of Berkeley residents said they started drinking more bottled or tap water. San Francisco and Oakland residents have reported a 19 percent increase. And almost no one tried to avoid the sugar tax by shopping elsewhere.
All in all, the tax changed inhabitants’ views around sugary beverage consumption.
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