Sugary Soda Coast to Coast

TheFatNurse is sure you’ve heard about the soda ban in New York but what you may not know is soda regulation in the form of taxation is happening right now in the west coast in Richmond, CA via the New York Times:

“The proposed tax, a license fee on businesses selling sweetened drinks, would require owners of bodegas, theaters, convenience stores and other outlets to tally ounces sold and, presumably, pass the cost on to customers. It is the most visible West Coast municipal challenge yet to Big Soda, as advocates are fond of calling it.”

This is not as dramatic as the 16+ oz ban in New York and proponents are calling the taxation a better form than outright bans since it can benefit the local community:

“…would go toward fighting childhood obesity through more bike lanes, nutritional education and after-school sports programs.”

This proposed measure hopes to combat many of the chronic diseases related to obesity and to reduce soda use. Richmond is particularly aggressive due to high prevalence of increased weight in their children:

“In Richmond, which has a substantial African-American and Latino population and where poverty rates are double the national average, an estimated 52 percent of elementary school students are overweight or obese, said Dr. Wendel Brunner, the director of public health for Contra Costa County, which includes Richmond.”

However, will this work? Despite TheFatNurse being anti-soda, TheFatNurse is for freedom of choice through education and promoting healthy habits instead of “simply forcing you to understand,” as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said. Additionally, what do all these anti-soda laws imply? Does it implicitly mean that obese people do not know that soda is bad for them? Of course not:

“What don’t I have?” asked Rita Cerda, a longtime soda devotee, ticking off her ailments, including diabeteshigh blood pressure and asthma. She is also overweight.

“I have problems drinking water,” she said. “I don’t like water.”

Many individuals with weight and chronic problems know that some of their habits may not be good for them. For those who want to change, it is important to provide whatever services they need on their quest to get better. As for those who want to continue their unhealthy habits despite knowing the dangers of junk food? That is their choice and a soda tax will unlikely defer them from drinking more in the future.


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