July 30, 2014
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) has introduced the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax Act of 2014 (SWEET Act), a bill to address obesity and diabetes by discouraging excessive sugar in beverages. The SWEET Act would amend the I.R.S. code to impose a one-cent tax on manufacturers for every teaspoon of added sugar in beverages.
The revenue from the tax would go toward initiatives designed to reduce the human and economic costs associated with health conditions related to sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.
"Scientific research shows a very clear relationship between the consumption of sugary drinks and obesity, diabetes, and other chronic health problems," said Marlene Schwartz, PhD, Rudd Center’s Director. "Given the pervasive marketing of sugary drinks in our food environment today, we need to encourage families to make healthy choices and a soda tax has the potential to do just that."
Sugar consumption-related diseases are responsible for an estimated $190 billion in annual health care costs, over 20 percent of which are paid by American taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid, DeLauro said.
Congresswoman DeLauro is hoping the initiative will galvanize local efforts to levy taxes on sweetened beverages, even if the SWEET Act does not become law, according to Reuters.