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Public Health Institute and California Project LEAN Reiterate Support for Federal Soda Tax Bill

March 26, 2015

Statement from Lynn Silver, MD, MPH, Senior Advisor, Chronic Disease and Obesity Prevention, Public Health Institute

"The Public Health Institute and California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) once again commend the leadership of U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) for today’s reintroduction of the Sweet Act, groundbreaking federal legislation which will create new incentives for manufacturers to reduce the sugar content of sweetened beverages.

“Sugary drinks are linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease – costly and often deadly diseases. Diabetes alone costs the nation $245 billion dollars a year, according to the American Diabetes Association. Today’s sodas contain roughly 16 teaspoons of sugar per 20 ounce bottle. Rep. DeLauro’s bill will place a graduated excise tax on manufacturers and distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages – resulting in roughly a one cent per ounce tax – and create real incentives for manufacturers to put less sugar in soda.

“The Sweet Act works not only to reduce sugar content in beverages, but also promotes innovative solutions to keep people healthy. Rep. DeLauro’s bill will direct resources from to the tax to the Prevention and Public Health Fund, the nation’s largest source of dedicated prevention funding to reduce chronic disease – particularly in vulnerable communities.

“Local and state soda tax proposals are cropping up across the country and demonstrate growing public support for creative solutions that prioritize health and reduce health care costs – like new statewide efforts to decrease SSB consumption in California. It’s time for the United States to take action on the national level.

“The Public Health Institute and California Project LEAN applaud the leadership of Rep. DeLauro and the other courageous politicians who are championing this critical issue. We urge our legislators to add their support to the Sweet Act, and stand for the public’s health."