Overwhelming majority against taxing soft drinks - 269 participants, 622 responses

Mar 17, 2016

This March, California lawmakers proposed adding a $0.02 per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks to fund obesity and diabetes prevention programs, safe drinking water, and oral health. If passed, it is estimated the tax would yield over $2 billion per year. Lawmakers in California have previously tried to pass a $0.01 soda tax, but the measure was defeated. No state has so far succeeded in passing a volume-based tax on the purchase of soft drinks, though the city of Berkeley passed a similar measure in 2014. An attempt to impose a soft drink tax in New Hampshire failed in 2010. On March 17, the LFDA decided to put the issue to its Facebook members, posting the question, “Should NH tax sugary soft drinks to fund obesity and diabetes prevention?”

“Should NH tax sugary soft drinks to fund obesity and diabetes prevention?”

Results: Yes or No Respondents 

Participation:

A total of 93% of those participating gave a 'yes or no' response to the question. The remaining 7% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a yes or no response. In total, the LFDA received 622 responses from 269 individuals. (Click here for details on our methodology.)

What Participants Said:

No: The majority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 95%, opposed taxing sugary soft drinks to fund obesity and diabetes prevention.

  • “How is a tax going to help stop obesity or diabetes? [It’s] just another tax that's not going to solve a problem.”
  • “That’s ridiculous. That’s like taxing fast food for similar reasoning. People need to take responsibility for what they choose to drink and eat.”
  • “There should be no punitive behavior based taxes.”

Yes: A minority, at 5% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, were in favor of taxing sugary soft drinks to fund obesity and diabetes prevention.

  • "Ban anything with heavy sugar, like candy and monsters, also.”
  • “I think this is a great idea…as long as the funds go to diabetes prevention.”
  • “If you don't want to pay the tax, drink water.”

Other: As noted above, 7% of those participating did not give a yes or no response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:

  • Expressing concern at the nature of soft drinks: “Those are actual drugs that harm people.”
  • Discussing obesity in broad terms: “Obesity is an epidemic driven by lack of discipline and too much sugar and carbs in the diet.”
  • Debating the logistics of taxation: “We don't tax in NH. It will have to be a fee. Maybe a plastic bottle fee or a cooler space fee.” 

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes.

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question.

Know someone who would be interested in these results? Forward them the summary version of this report.

Would you be in favor of taxing sugary soft drinks to fund obesity and diabetes prevention? Leave a comment and have your say! 

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