Health Experts Call for Soda Tax

Critics say it won't reduce obesity
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2009 11:00 AM CDT
A customer takes a bottle of Pepsi from a display at T & P Grocery in Hosford, Fla., on April 21, 2008.    (AP Photo/Phil Coale, file)

(Newser) – Health experts say a tax on sugary sodas would take a big bite out of the obesity epidemic, ABC News reports. Taxing "sugar-sweetened beverages is really a double-win," said the co-author of a new paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine. "We can raise much-needed dollars while likely reducing obesity prevalence, which is a major driver of health care costs," the paper reads.

Predictably, the idea has lots of critics, and they're not all from the soda industry. Some say it's unrealistic to think that higher prices will change habits. "I don't think it's necessarily true that the poor haven't heard that water's cheaper than soda," said a regulatory expert. Another issue: People could skip soda "yet land on equally unhealthy alternate choices," said the director of Duke's diet center.