First Soda Tax in America Passed By a Landslide

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Berkley, Calif. has become the first city in America to pass a soda tax at one cent per ounce

The tax on soda aims to slow the increasing level of obesity and diabetes in the city.

After last night’s elections, health advocates in California have something to cheer for. The nation’s first soda and sugary drink tax was passed in the city of Berkley, Calif. The measure passed by a landslide, as three-quarters of voters backed the one-cent-per-ounce tax that will go into effect in 2015, and affects soda, energy drinks, sweetened teas, and other packaged sugary drinks. Diet soda, nutritional drinks, and milk are exempt. A similar measure that was voted on in San Francisco, which would have imposed a two-cent-per-ounce tax, failed last night.

“Berkeley has a proud history of setting nationwide trends, such as non-smoking sections in restaurants and bars, curb cuts for wheelchairs, curbside recycling, and public school food policies,” Vicki Alexander, an activist who worked to pass Measure D, said in statement.

In total, the soda industry spent more than $9 million against the San Francisco campaign, according to Reuters, and $2.1 million fighting the Berkley campaign (a hefty sum, considering the city’s small population of just 116,000).

In Mexico, where a soda tax was just implemented this year, PepsiCo cited a three percent decline in consumption due to the tax. 

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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi