Consumer Reports Survey Finds 42% of Americans Think Government Should Tax Unhealthy Behavior

Swapping Out Sugary Soda

Consumer Reports (CR) examines the pros and cons of using so-called “behavior” or “sin” taxes as weapons in the complex war to end America’s obesity crisis in a new report, ”Can ‘Sin Taxes’ Solve America’s Obesity Problem?,” published on CR.org today.

CR’s extensive report explores the growing effort across the nation and around the globe to hike taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks and sodas as a way to reduce sugar consumption and calories and help prevent obesity and related chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. The report features graphics that look at the health benefits associated with drinking more water and another on how much sugar can be avoided by switching to a different beverage.

A new nationally representative CR survey of 1,010 adults shows that while consumers have mixed feelings about sin taxes, among the 42 percent who favor them, the majority approve of taxing sugar sweetened beverages. The survey also finds that half of Americans say they would not cut back on unhealthy food even if it cost more. But most people—73 percent—say they would eat more healthy food if it cost less.

“It doesn’t take a radical change in a person’s diet to make a difference in weight. An average 20-ounce soda contains about 16 teaspoons of added sugar,” said Trisha Calvo, CR’s Health and Food Deputy Content Editor. A simple switch in daily beverages can help an individual drop unwanted pounds and live healthier, she said.

Replacing one 20-ounce sugary cola with water out of a daily diet could save 119 cups of sugar annually and result in 14 pounds of potential weight loss, according to the National Institutes of Health Body Weight Planner.

The full report on behavior taxes is available now on CR.org , It will also be in the upcoming October issue of Consumer Reports, which hits newsstands at the end of August. Follow CR on Facebook and Twitter for current news and reports.

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