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Global Obesity Prevention Center

Berkeley places excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages

On November 4th, Berkeley, CA made history by becoming the first city in the nation to place an excise tax on the distribution of sugar-sweetened beverages. The penny per ounce tax passed with 75% of the vote despite over $2 million in beverage industry contributions to defeat the measure. Based on price elasticities and preliminary reports on Mexico's soda tax, the Berkeley tax is expected to reduce purchases, and thus consumption of sugary beverages. However, consumer responses hinge upon how and to what extent the tax is passed onto consumers. Additionally, the tax revenues have the potential to improve community nutrition and health by funding health promotion programs. Written into the measure is the creation of a panel of experts in child nutrition, healthcare, and education that will recommend to city council how best to spend the revenues.

The GOPC Pilot Studie's Core has funded a new project that will examine the impact of this sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) excise tax on media, retail environments, and child and adult SSB consumption in Berkley, San Francisco, and Oakland (a comparison city).  Meet the team taking the lead on this project.