Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages: Results from a 2011 national public opinion survey

Colleen L Barry, Jeff Niederdeppe, Sarah E. Gollust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages including nondiet sodas, sport drinks, and energy drinks has been linked with obesity. Recent state and local efforts to tax these beverages have been unsuccessful. Enactment will be unlikely without public support, yet little research is available to assess how to effectively make the case for such taxes. Purpose: The objectives were to assess public opinion about arguments used commonly in tax debates regarding sugar-sweetened beverages and to assess differences in public opinion by respondents' political party affiliation. Methods: A public opinion survey was fielded in January-March 2011 using a probability-based sample of respondents from a large, nationally representative online panel to examine public attitudes about nine pro- and eight anti-tax arguments. These data were analyzed in August 2011. Results: Findings indicated greater public agreement with anti- than pro-tax arguments. The most popular anti-tax argument was that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is arbitrary because it does not affect consumption of other unhealthy foods (60%). A majority also agreed that such taxes were a quick way for politicians to fill budget holes (58%); an unacceptable intrusion of government into people's lives (53.8%); opposed by most Americans (53%); and harmful to the poor (51%). No pro-tax arguments were endorsed by a majority of the public. Respondents reported highest agreement with the argument that sugar-sweetened beverages were the single largest contributor to obesity (49%) and would raise revenue for obesity prevention (41%). Conclusions: Without bolstering public support for existing pro-tax messages or developing alternative pro-tax messages, enacting such policies will be difficult. Message-framing studies could be useful in identifying promising strategies for persuading Americans that taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2013

Fingerprint

Public Opinion
Taxes
Beverages
Obesity
Energy Drinks
Sampling Studies
Budgets
Sports
Surveys and Questionnaires
Food
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Epidemiology

Cite this

Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages : Results from a 2011 national public opinion survey. / Barry, Colleen L; Niederdeppe, Jeff; Gollust, Sarah E.

In: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Vol. 44, No. 2, 02.2013, p. 158-163.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{76ef5535d5ec40b9aeffbf8086169bf3,
title = "Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages: Results from a 2011 national public opinion survey",
abstract = "Background: Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages including nondiet sodas, sport drinks, and energy drinks has been linked with obesity. Recent state and local efforts to tax these beverages have been unsuccessful. Enactment will be unlikely without public support, yet little research is available to assess how to effectively make the case for such taxes. Purpose: The objectives were to assess public opinion about arguments used commonly in tax debates regarding sugar-sweetened beverages and to assess differences in public opinion by respondents' political party affiliation. Methods: A public opinion survey was fielded in January-March 2011 using a probability-based sample of respondents from a large, nationally representative online panel to examine public attitudes about nine pro- and eight anti-tax arguments. These data were analyzed in August 2011. Results: Findings indicated greater public agreement with anti- than pro-tax arguments. The most popular anti-tax argument was that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is arbitrary because it does not affect consumption of other unhealthy foods (60{\%}). A majority also agreed that such taxes were a quick way for politicians to fill budget holes (58{\%}); an unacceptable intrusion of government into people's lives (53.8{\%}); opposed by most Americans (53{\%}); and harmful to the poor (51{\%}). No pro-tax arguments were endorsed by a majority of the public. Respondents reported highest agreement with the argument that sugar-sweetened beverages were the single largest contributor to obesity (49{\%}) and would raise revenue for obesity prevention (41{\%}). Conclusions: Without bolstering public support for existing pro-tax messages or developing alternative pro-tax messages, enacting such policies will be difficult. Message-framing studies could be useful in identifying promising strategies for persuading Americans that taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages are warranted.",
author = "Barry, {Colleen L} and Jeff Niederdeppe and Gollust, {Sarah E.}",
year = "2013",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1016/j.amepre.2012.09.065",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "44",
pages = "158--163",
journal = "American Journal of Preventive Medicine",
issn = "0749-3797",
publisher = "Elsevier Inc.",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages

T2 - Results from a 2011 national public opinion survey

AU - Barry, Colleen L

AU - Niederdeppe, Jeff

AU - Gollust, Sarah E.

PY - 2013/2

Y1 - 2013/2

N2 - Background: Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages including nondiet sodas, sport drinks, and energy drinks has been linked with obesity. Recent state and local efforts to tax these beverages have been unsuccessful. Enactment will be unlikely without public support, yet little research is available to assess how to effectively make the case for such taxes. Purpose: The objectives were to assess public opinion about arguments used commonly in tax debates regarding sugar-sweetened beverages and to assess differences in public opinion by respondents' political party affiliation. Methods: A public opinion survey was fielded in January-March 2011 using a probability-based sample of respondents from a large, nationally representative online panel to examine public attitudes about nine pro- and eight anti-tax arguments. These data were analyzed in August 2011. Results: Findings indicated greater public agreement with anti- than pro-tax arguments. The most popular anti-tax argument was that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is arbitrary because it does not affect consumption of other unhealthy foods (60%). A majority also agreed that such taxes were a quick way for politicians to fill budget holes (58%); an unacceptable intrusion of government into people's lives (53.8%); opposed by most Americans (53%); and harmful to the poor (51%). No pro-tax arguments were endorsed by a majority of the public. Respondents reported highest agreement with the argument that sugar-sweetened beverages were the single largest contributor to obesity (49%) and would raise revenue for obesity prevention (41%). Conclusions: Without bolstering public support for existing pro-tax messages or developing alternative pro-tax messages, enacting such policies will be difficult. Message-framing studies could be useful in identifying promising strategies for persuading Americans that taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages are warranted.

AB - Background: Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages including nondiet sodas, sport drinks, and energy drinks has been linked with obesity. Recent state and local efforts to tax these beverages have been unsuccessful. Enactment will be unlikely without public support, yet little research is available to assess how to effectively make the case for such taxes. Purpose: The objectives were to assess public opinion about arguments used commonly in tax debates regarding sugar-sweetened beverages and to assess differences in public opinion by respondents' political party affiliation. Methods: A public opinion survey was fielded in January-March 2011 using a probability-based sample of respondents from a large, nationally representative online panel to examine public attitudes about nine pro- and eight anti-tax arguments. These data were analyzed in August 2011. Results: Findings indicated greater public agreement with anti- than pro-tax arguments. The most popular anti-tax argument was that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is arbitrary because it does not affect consumption of other unhealthy foods (60%). A majority also agreed that such taxes were a quick way for politicians to fill budget holes (58%); an unacceptable intrusion of government into people's lives (53.8%); opposed by most Americans (53%); and harmful to the poor (51%). No pro-tax arguments were endorsed by a majority of the public. Respondents reported highest agreement with the argument that sugar-sweetened beverages were the single largest contributor to obesity (49%) and would raise revenue for obesity prevention (41%). Conclusions: Without bolstering public support for existing pro-tax messages or developing alternative pro-tax messages, enacting such policies will be difficult. Message-framing studies could be useful in identifying promising strategies for persuading Americans that taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages are warranted.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84872462708&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84872462708&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.09.065

DO - 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.09.065

M3 - Article

C2 - 23332333

AN - SCOPUS:84872462708

VL - 44

SP - 158

EP - 163

JO - American Journal of Preventive Medicine

JF - American Journal of Preventive Medicine

SN - 0749-3797

IS - 2

ER -