Can taxes on calorically sweetened beverages reduce obesity?
Enlightened by the success of using tobacco taxes to curb smoking prevalence, many have argued that large beverage taxes are an attractive policy tool in the fight against obesity because, unlike many other foods, calorically sweetened beverages (CSBs) have little nutritional value. However, unlike tobacco which is harmful at any level of consumption, CSBs may be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet. In the United States on average, CSBs make up a large share of total daily calories—about 13% for adolescents and young adults (Figure 1). Thus, reducing the consumption of CSBs may substantially reduce caloric intake, as long as individuals do not compensate by adding calories from other foods or drinks.
Todd, JE., & Zhen, C. (2010). Can taxes on calorically sweetened beverages reduce obesity? Choices: The Magazine of Food, Farm, and Resource Issues, 25(3).