251616 Taxing Sugary Drinks: The Vermont Story

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 9:40 AM

Peter Sterling , Vermont Campaign for Health Care Security, Montpelier, VT
Roberta Friedman, ScM , Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Obesity is a serious problem in Vermont-- currently, 58% of Vermonters are either overweight or obese and the University of Vermont found that almost half of the state's Medicare and Medicaid expenses can be traced to obesity—about $183 million a year. As the State of Vermont plans for its move towards to a universal health care system in 2017, policy makers are exploring strategies to decrease obesity and reduce the cost of delivering high quality and affordable health care. In November 2010, a broad range of public health advocates united to support the passage of legislation to create a penny per ounce SSB excise tax. This legislation has not advanced due to a lack of the public's understanding of the adverse health impacts of excess SSB consumption and elected officials concerns over the impact on retailers and the regressive nature of the tax. In this session, we will review our recent efforts to introduce taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages in Vermont, discuss the current public education efforts around the need for a penny per ounce SSB excise tax, and describe the creation of a broad coalition supporting this legislation.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1) Explain barriers to imposing sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) legislation. 2) Discuss the current public education efforts around the need for a penny per ounce SSB excise tax. 3) Describe the process of creating coalitions to support SSB excise tax legislation.

Keywords: Nutrition, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As policy director of the Rudd Center, I have been providing resources to, and consultation for, state and local policymakers, advocacy groups, and coalitions on sugar-sweetened beverage policy options for the past 3 years. I have written a policy brief and numerous fact sheets on sugar-sweetened beverage taxes, and oversee a website which provides resources on the subject.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.