AMA Weighing Support For National Soda Tax

UPDATED 06/21/11 5:44 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Would a $2 bottle of fattening soda have Americans drinking less and slimming down? As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, some doctors think a big fat soda tax is the answer.

The sweet fizzy drinks might taste delicious, but sugary sodas are fattening and if the Houk family looks fit, it might be because the drinks are mostly off-limits at home.

Annie Houk acknowledged it’s “very hard” to keep her kids away from soda “because they love it.”

Her daughter, Alyssa Floro, said she doesn’t think it’s fair that her parents won’t let her and her siblings have soda.

Adults who drink a sugar-sweetened beverage each day are 27 percent more likely to be overweight. In children, the number jumps to 60 percent.

Dr. Wayne Polek, President of the Illinois State Medical Society said, “One soda is not so bad. It’s just the amount of soda consumed in the past 20 or 30 years has gone up dramatically.”

It’s why Illinois’ delegation to the American Medical Association proposed a nationwide tax on sugary drinks of one cent an ounce to help curb consumption.

It would raise the $1 price of a 2-liter bottle of Coke from roughly $1.70.

Ron Hazuck with Filbert’s Specialty Sodas in Chicago said that kind of tax “would put us out of business.”

Filbert’s Specialty Sodas is a mom and pop store, located on the South Side, with roughly five employees. But owners believe what they call an extreme tax could also cripple the big guys like Coke and Pepsi.

“This year, sugar has doubled [in price] so in addition to the doubling of sugar and then you’re going to put a tax on it, it would be very bad,” Hazuck said

But not all Americans are drinking in that advice. Tax proponents said it could help curb consumption, but also help generate $15 billion annually to help fight obesity.

Alyssa Floro admitted that when her mom isn’t looking, she’ll drink Mountain dew at her grandmother’s house.

But delegates to the AMA’s convention here in Chicago were concerned about where to draw the line with a soda tax, wondering whether sports drinks intended to provide a needed sugar boost be included.

The AMA has decided to study the issue for at least another six months.

  • Skorpius

    Tell me what to do, government! I can’t run my life!

  • HPS

    Looks like yet another NUDGE to conforming ..If the people don’t listen TAX it.. Well here’s the thing.. I don’t know of ONE person no matter which political party they are from that is not SICK and TIRED of the GOVERNMENT.. Go ahead and tax soda WILL I quit drinking it?? NO .. but I will make up for the extra tax by NOT buying other things..people will cut back on things like going to the show.. the new pair of shoes.. etc.. as they add taxes to CONTROL me I adjust.. I nor anyone else needs the GOVERNMENT to tell me what I should or shouldn’t eat.. or tax it because THEY think it’s bad for me.. People are OVERWEIGHT because they sit on their rears at and in front of a computer or t.v. at night.. but than they already TAX your income .. internet..and cable .. how’s that worked out?? the taxing thing?? the AMA should stop and think WHY 2 generations ago people drank SUGAR (not CORN SYRUP).. ATE BUTTER.. ETC and were NOT fat?? it’s sad the AMA don’t have a brain between them.. HOWEVER.. leave it to the DEMOCRATS to think that another tax is appropriate..

    • Don

      The reason corn syrup is used, is because of intrusive government. When they put a tariff on imported sugar, pop companies switched to corn syrup. So to save 1000 jobs in the sugar industry, we lost 100,000 jobs in the candy industry, and increased prices. Candy has to use sugar and corn syrup.

  • Mr. Justice

    The government really needs to stay out of what people eat and drink. If someone one to drink soda, let them. I don’t drink it, but I am against taxing it too. IF people do not stand up and fight against this tax, even though it might not affect you, something down the line will be taxed that WILL affect you. Government needs to stay out.

  • TJefferson

    Who’s gives a f what these card carrying idiot doctors think??

  • Noel Brown

    This is another example of cradle to grave control. Vote Ron Paul 2012 and let’s not fund the AMA anymore!!!

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