Can Soft Drink Taxes Reduce Population Weight?

Contemp Econ Policy. 2010 Jan;28(1):23-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-7287.2009.00182.x.


Soft drink consumption has been hypothesized as one of the major factors in the growing rates of obesity in the US. Nearly two-thirds of all states currently tax soft drinks using excise taxes, sales taxes, or special exemptions to food exemptions from sales taxes to reduce consumption of this product, raise revenue, and improve public health. In this paper, we evaluate the impact of changes in state soft drink taxes on body mass index (BMI), obesity, and overweight. Our results suggest that soft drink taxes influence BMI, but that the impact is small in magnitude.