California Poll Indicates Support for Soda Sales Tax

The State of California is considering “…a special tax on soda and soft drinks to fight childhood obesity, according to a new Field Poll.”

Fighting obesity by applying a sales tax to food items considered to encourage obesity is not a new idea. A group of doctors in the state of Massachusetts recently asked the state to consider removing soft drinks and candy from the list of food products that are exempt from sales tax.

In California, data collected by “The California Endowment Childhood Obesity Prevention Survey found that 48% of participants cited unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise as the primary health concern facing children – an increase from 35% in 2003.”

The poll spread over a large voter population and across all demographic and regional subdivisions. Of those that responded, the majority also supported the government spending a lot of money on programs to prevent childhood obesity—some indicating in the billions.

According to the press release on the poll results, “Nearly three in four voters (73 percent) believe obesity prevention efforts should involve the community as well as kids and their families. This view includes voters of all parties and major subgroups of the state.”

When the poll asked about potential revenue sources to support government obesity prevention programs, “…57 percent of California voters favor giving local governments the authority to tax products, like alcohol, cigarettes, junk foods or sweetened beverages, if approved by a majority of voters. In addition, 62 percent of the voters surveyed said they support imposing a special fee on soda and soft drinks and use the money to fight childhood obesity, of whom 45 percent support it strongly.”

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