Who’s Behind I-1634?

Big Soda is behind I-1634.

As of September 2018, here are the contributors to the Yes on I-1634 campaign and the amounts donated. Coca-Cola has given nearly $4 million, while Pepsi has donated $2.8 million. Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Keurig Dr Pepper have given $1.2 million and Red Bull has chipped in nearly $100,000.

Source: Public Disclosure Commission data

It seems soft drink makers and distributors will do just about anything to keep Americans addicted to their unhealthy products. In our state, that means dumping millions of dollars into Initiative 1634, a measure to prohibit cities from following in Seattle’s example and levying taxes on sugary beverages to raise money for public health. Never mind that consuming beverages with with high fructose corn syrup and other chemical additives causes obesity and contributes to diabetes.

A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2009 summarized the many correlations between the consumption of sugary soft drinks and health problems.

For example:

Three prospective, observational studies — one involving nurses in the United States, one involving Finnish men and women, and one involving black women  — each showed positive associations between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Among the 91,249 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II who were followed for 8 years, the risk of diabetes among women who consumed one or more servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per day was nearly double the risk among women who consumed less than one serving of sugar-sweetened beverages per month; about half the excess risk was accounted for by greater body weight. Among black women, excess weight accounted for most of the excess risk.

“A compelling case can be made for the need for reduced consumption of these beverages,” the authors of the report state in their introduction, noting:

Economists agree that government intervention in a market is warranted when there are “market failures” that result in less-than-optimal production and consumption. Several market failures exist with respect to sugar-sweetened beverages. First, because many persons do not fully appreciate the links between consumption of these beverages and health consequences, they make consumption decisions with imperfect information. These decisions are likely to be further distorted by the extensive marketing campaigns that advertise the benefits of consumption.

The overwhelming body of research on this subject is what motivated Seattle to levy its tax. The city council correctly reasoned that since rampant consumption of sugary soft drinks was having an adverse impact on public health and personal wellness, it would be prudent to raise money from their distribution to improve public health.

Recent updates