TOPICS > Nation

Would you switch your favorite drink if it cost more?

BY and   October 11, 2014 at 11:39 AM EDT
Sweetened drinks are the largest single source of sugar in American diets today. Graphic credit: Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

Sweetened drinks are the largest single source of sugar in American diets today. Graphic credit: Lisa Overton/NewsHour Weekend

Facing rising costs from obesity and Type II diabetes, officials in San Francisco have taken aim at what they argue is one of the main culprits in this health crisis: sugary drinks.

“Proposition E” – which will be voted on in November — would levy a two-cent-per-ounce tax on any drink that contains added sugar. Proponents believe that if those sugary drinks are a little bit pricier than their counterparts, San Franciscans will pick a smaller drink, or a healthier one that costs slightly less.

But do taxes really change behavior?

Supporters of the proposal say tobacco taxation proves their point. According to the Institute of Medicine, research shows that a 10 percent increase in cigarette prices could reduce overall cigarette smoking by 2.5 to five percent.

Critics of San Francisco’s proposal, including the beverage industry, argue the city’s proposed tax won’t have the intended effect, and will instead hurt consumers and small businesses. You can watch our video report on the tax proposal here:

If the proposal passes, will the so-called “soda tax” actually change behavior? To find out — in a highly unscientific survey — NewsHour Weekend spoke with a few San Franciscans as they bought their favorite drinks.

We asked: if the price of your favorite beverage choices increased, would it change your behavior?

Do you agree with the people we polled in San Francisco? We want to know your thoughts.

Sound off on the proposed tax on sugary drinks in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

SHARE VIA TEXT