Last fall, Berkeley, California, became the first city in the United States to pass a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages—soda pop, sweetened teas, sugary juices, and energy drinks. Proponents say the tax will discourage the consumption of a nutrition-free, even dangerous category of beverage. Critics counter with claims of an over-reaching nanny state whose interventions will do nothing to curb rates of obesity and diabetes.
To figure out who’s right, it’d be nice to have some data. But before Berkeley passed its tax, 30 other cities and states across the US had tried to introduce similar measures and failed. Berkeley’s tax is certainly raising revenues, but it’s too soon to know whether consumption has gone down or overall public health has improved. Luckily, somewhere else has a year’s head start on taxing soda: Mexico.