A penny-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would cut health and cost burdens of diabetes

Health Aff (Millwood). 2012 Jan;31(1):199-207. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0410.


Sugar-sweetened beverages are a major contributor to the US obesity and diabetes epidemics. Using the Coronary Heart Disease Policy Model, we examined the potential impact on health and health spending of a nationwide penny-per-ounce excise tax on these beverages. We found that the tax would reduce consumption of these beverages by 15 percent among adults ages 25-64. Over the period 2010-20, the tax was estimated to prevent 2.4 million diabetes person-years, 95,000 coronary heart events, 8,000 strokes, and 26,000 premature deaths, while avoiding more than $17 billion in medical costs. In addition to generating approximately $13 billion in annual tax revenue, a modest tax on sugar-sweetened beverages could reduce the adverse health and cost burdens of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbonated Beverages / economics*
  • Carbonated Beverages / statistics & numerical data
  • Cost Control
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / economics*
  • Female
  • Fructose*
  • Health Expenditures / trends
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity
  • Taxes / economics*


  • Fructose