Banning soda in the name of health has been a very heated topic of discussion in recent years. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg attempted to outlaw half-liter cups of sugary drinks back in 2012, which the state of New York found un-American and unconstitutional. Berkeley, California, passed a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages last fall. Mexico did the same thing in 2014 and has seen great results since, possibly setting an example for its upstairs neighbor.
Wired reports that in the year since Mexico’s 10 percent, or 1 peso per liter, tax on beverages and 8 percent tax on junk food has been in effect, sales of the sugary drinks have dropped 12 percent.
Now there’s a push to up the tax even further. Alejandro Calvillo, director of Mexico City advocacy group Consumer Power, is calling for the government to double the tax to 20 percent, two pesos per liter, and for the elimination of sales tax on bottled water.
“Most of the time, if you go to a little store to buy a water, it will cost you almost the same as a soda. So people opt for the soda,” Calvillo tells Wired.
Berkeley’s tax amounts to almost 20 percent, which it could be argued is a high starting point. However, Berkeley residents can easily travel outside of the city for their cheap-sugar needs, whereas Mexico’s law is in effect nationwide.
While it is too soon to tell if these taxes will lead to significant health benefits, there’s no denying that it works on some level. Does it violate our constitutional rights, though? There are worse things in the world.