A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report supports the notion that taxing sugary foods and drinks could lead to a decrease in the consumption of such products and reduce obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay.

  • A number of jurisdictions in the U.S. and abroad have implemented fiscal policy interventions – by way of taxes – as a means of ostensibly improving diets and preventing certain diseases.   According to WHO, several countries, including Mexico and Hungary, already tax sugary products, and the Philippines, South Africa and the U.K. are slated to implement similar measures in the near future.  In a recent example (and as previously covered on this blog), on June 16, 2016, the Philadelphia city council voted 13-4 to approve a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.  This “soda tax” has come under fire from industry and consumers alike, and is currently the subject of ongoing litigation seeking to upend the new law.
  • Yesterday, WHO released a report finding that “the taxation of certain sugary foods and drinks, particularly those high in saturated fats, trans fat, free sugars or salt, ‘appears promising,’ with existing evidence ‘clearly showing’ that increasing the prices of such products reduces their consumption.”
  • It remains to be seen whether and to what extent additional jurisdictions, both at home and abroad, will seek to pursue such legislation.