National Consumers League

Consumer group praises Berkeley vote on soda tax

November 5, 2014

Contact: Ben Klein, National Consumers League,, (202) 835-3323

Washington, DC- The National Consumers League (NCL) applauds Berkeley, California for passing the nation’s first tax on sweetened beverages yesterday. The measure imposes a one-cent-per-ounce tax on distributors, with proceeds going to the city’s general fund. With the looming obesity crisis, soft drink consumption’s link to health problems like obesity and Type 2 diabetes was likely the motivating force behind the debate.

“The residents of Berkeley were wise to support this modest tax on soda and to stand up to the soft drink industry. Taxes like these promote healthier beverages and fight the causes of obesity, ” said Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director.

In San Francisco, a similar measure proposed a two-cent-cent-per-ounce tax but did not pass. This measure would have required a two-thirds majority vote, as proceeds were earmarked for health and nutrition programs. Mexico’s soda tax, which was instituted in January, has resulted in decreased sales of high-calorie beverages and an increase in sales of water and low-calorie beverages. Even in areas where proposed taxes don’t pass, consumer awareness about the adverse effects of soft drink consumption is increased, potentially yielding positive health outcomes.


About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America’s pioneer consumer organization. Its mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit