Mexican Senate Passes Tax on Soda

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

October 31, 2013

If there's any country that’s paid a higher price for out-of-control soda consumption it is Mexico. Its citizens drink even more soda than Americans do, and Mexico has even higher rates of obesity and diabetes than the United States. So to reduce consumption, improve health, and raise revenue that country really needs, both houses of Mexico's legislature have approved a tax on sugar drinks of a peso per liter and an eight percent snack tax. Their passage is a major credit to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto and to the tenacity of the consumer group El Poder del Consumidor.

A soda tax is something that American city councils, state legislatures, and Congress should be looking at in the months and years ahead. Science has now established that sugar drinks play an important role in weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and even heart disease. Virtually every American would be better off sharply reducing if not eliminating their consumption. And yet—reflecting industry pressure—so many American legislators want to leave this easy health measure and revenue source off the table.

Voters in Telluride will next week decide whether to enact a penny-per-ounce tax on sugar drinks. A San Francisco city supervisor is proposing a ballot measure calling for a two-cent-per-ounce tax. Big soda has had much success beating similar measures back one by one. But as more and more jurisdictions simultaneously consider such taxes, it might be harder for the big spenders at the soda lobby to keep up.


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