Holding Big Soda Accountable
PHI’s research, evaluation, and media advocacy played a key role in the passage of new taxes on sugary beverages around the country in 2016, including three measures endorsed by PHI in the Bay Area. Evaluations by PHI’s Lynn Silver documenting the success of Berkeley’s soda tax helped counter misleading messages from the soda industry and frame the conversation around public health, as they were cited throughout the campaign in advocacy and press efforts.
Though the soda industry spent tens of millions of dollars on ad campaigns to discredit science, voters made it clear that they will no longer tolerate the devastating impact of sugar sweetened beverages on their communities.
A study by PHI’s Lynn Silver, Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra and Marta Induni was cited in many media stories, showing that a soda tax passed in 2014 in Berkeley, California was working as intended by reducing sales of unhealthy beverages while also generating more than a million dollars to support prevention and build healthier communities. The 2016 votes on soda taxes are a victory for public health, and PHI will continue to stand for the health of people in the years to come.