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Soda Tax in Mexico Gets Results

January 13, 2016
Plain English Version

It looks like Mexico has found a way to get some people off their soft drink habit. They placed a tax on sugary beverages. It is working.

The sales of such drinks fell as much as twelve percent. The sales of bottled water went up by four percent.

Mexico is seen as a test case for the effect of taxes on sales. Other countries have been waiting for the results. An expert said, “I think this is encouraging for all countries. They are deciding whether to use this measure. This is a demonstration that it works.”

Mexico has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. About 70 percent of its adults are overweight. Mexicans also have a very high rate of Type 2 diabetes.  Mexican adults drink more soft drinks than adults in other countries. This adds a great deal of sugar to the Mexican diet.

Two years ago Mexico placed a ten percent tax on soft drinks. Health experts wanted the tax to be even bigger. The beverage industry was against the tax. The changes in the way people used soft drinks were studied.

Regardless of income, most groups bought less. The people with lower incomes bought much less.

The beverage industry said that drinking fewer soft drinks did not affect the basic health of Mexicans. It says that diet is more important.

Experts say drinking fewer soft drinks is helpful. There is no magic bullet.

Source: The New York Times January 6, 2016

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