The soda industry in the U.S. suffered a historical loss the other day. For the first time, a soda tax is imposed!
Berkeley, California, became the first city to vote, with great majority, in favor of introducing a tax that will make sodas noticeably more expensive:
This could be viewed as an insignificant event – Berkeley is a city of just 80,000 people, so who cares? But symbolically it’s a big thing. Similar proposals have on some 20 occasions been voted down in different cities in the U.S., after huge economic countermeasures from the soda industry, in the form of advertising.
Just in little Berkeley, the soda industry spent around 2 million dollars on TV and other advertisements to oppose the proposal. That’s almost $26 per person: during the Swedish election campaign in 2014, all the Swedish political parties combined spent $4.70 per person on advertisements. Per person, the soda industry spent five times more in Berkeley than all of the Swedish parties combined in an election year.
They must have bought up every single advertisement spot available. And yet they lost.
Now, experts think more cities in the U.S. will follow Berkeley’s example. And Mexico has already introduced a soda tax.
Some people think that there should be no taxes on anything, not even tobacco. Personally I disagree, but what I think doesn’t matter. What matters is that if we’re ok with taxing tobacco for health reasons we should certainly tax soda too.