CDA supports legislative efforts for soda fee

CDA is co-sponsoring a new legislative effort that would enact a statewide fee on sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda.

AB 1357, authored by Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), would establish a 2 cent per ounce health impact fee on sugar-sweetened beverages at the distributor level. More than half of the estimated $3 billion in revenue raised by AB 1357 would be allocated to the Department of Public Health for various purposes and specifically include oral health programs. The remaining revenues would be distributed to the Department of Education, the Department of Health Care Services and the Department of Food and Agriculture for other health and nutritional programs.

AB 1357 comes on the heels of Berkeley becoming the first city in the nation to adopt a tax on sugary drinks in 2014. 

Sugar-sweetened beverages are the single largest source of added sugars in the American diet. Bacteria feed on what people eat and drink, especially sugars, and create acid that can break down the tooth’s outer surface and dissolve the valuable minerals that protect teeth from decay. These beverages are one of the most significant contributors to dental decay in children, the most common chronic childhood disease, experienced by more than two-thirds of children in California.

“The impact sweetened drinks have on the teeth cannot be understated and that is why CDA is supporting efforts that would discourage use as well as raise funds for the state’s health programs, including dental programs,” said CDA President Walt Weber, DDS. “The facts speak to the urgency to help elevate awareness around the oral health needs that the consumption of sugary beverages creates.”    

According to the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, the average American consumes 50 gallons of soda and other sweetened beverages each year. What’s more, according to 2005-07 and 2011-12 California Health Interview Surveys, 32 percent of six to 11 year olds drink a sugar-sweetened beverage each day, and that increases to 65 percent of the 12 to 17 year olds. 

AB 1357 is supported by dozens of health and community groups. It is part of a long-term effort to push for more action from the state on sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. 

CDA will keep members updated on these efforts in the Update and on cda.org.

Related Items

The Ad Council and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives are implementing a national oral health campaign on Nov. 1, the day after Halloween, to remind parents and kids about the importance of regular oral hygiene and brushing for two minutes, twice a day. National Brush Day promotes improving the nation’s children’s oral health by supplying parents with simple information on when to start various levels of oral hygiene with their kids.