Taxes on sugary drinks, the current cause célèbre in public health circles, are enjoying a moment in the spotlight this voting season. At least four cities, including Boulder, Colorado, will vote on whether to enact the tax this election cycle, giving public health advocates hope that they’ll soon be headed to a ballot near you.
The votes this year are high-stakes for proponents and opponents alike. Proponents say taxing sugary drinks like soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, lemonade, sweetened teas and coffees, can reverse high rates of obesity and diabetes. If the ballot measures prove successful it could mark a turning point in public perception of soda taxes, which have already failed dozens of times across the country, only to find recent successes in Berkeley, California, and in Philadelphia.