Letter: Taxing soda won’t make us healthier

Re: “Researchers recommend soda tax” (Sept. 18). A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would have no measurable impact on obesity, and so, as policymakers seek ways to fund health-care reform, we encourage them to seek policies that are based in both science and common sense.

A study conducted by Harvard researchers and published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this year concluded that all calories count — regardless of their source — when it comes to losing weight. In fact, both West Virginia and Arkansas have excise taxes already in place, yet those states have among the 10 highest rates of obesity in the nation. Further, a tax on sweetened beverages would have no measurable impact on obesity. In fact, a recent George Mason University paper states that even a 15-cent tax added to a 75-cent soda would only decrease the BMI of an obese person from 40.00 to 39.98. That’s a difference that’s not even measurable on a bathroom scale.

There is no doubt that obesity is a serious and complex problem, but it requires thoughtful and comprehensive solutions. We simply can’t tax our way to better health.

Maureen Storey


Sept. 24

The writer is the senior vice president for science policy at the American Beverage Association.


  • BW

    Note that large enough taxes, to wit on tobacco products, do cut consumption. But even if taxing doesn’t cut consumption, it will collect money by the individual to offset later life medical expenses otherwise disproportionately borne by the public.

  • anon

    why don’t people just regulate what they put in their mouths instead of expecting big government to do so?

  • LOL


    “The writer is the senior vice president for science policy at the American Beverage Association.”

    Maureen, give us a break. Are you seriously asserting that one calorie from Coca Cola is nutritionally equivalent to one calorie from a carrot, or stalk of celery? In ANY way? Thank you so much for the disclaimer of unbelievable bias at the bottom of your column. What a joke.

  • Yale grad

    The fact that the American Beverage Association feels the need to respond to the Yale Daily News is kind of breathtaking.

    They really must be getting desperate! Perhaps we’re close to actually enacting a tax.

  • Slim

    This penalty should be paid only by obese people. The rest of us are innocent.

  • @#3

    Are you sure you know what calories are…? Or what the letter says?


    Pigovian taxes aren’t real!

  • anonymous

    Glad to see that the beverage lobby is monitoring campus presses.