As Sugary Drink Tax Misses the Mark, Education and Health Loses Out in Santa Fe

Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO, comments on the 2-cent per fluid ounce sugary drink tax to fund early childhood education across Santa Fe, New Mexico

May 02, 2017 Categories: Advisories & Comments

DALLAS - May 2, 2017 — Nancy Brown, American Heart Association CEO: "We are disappointed in the outcome of today’s vote on the sugary drink tax in Santa Fe. We believe the voters and business owners would never have been divided on such a simple issue if they were told the truth, but the beverage industries’ deep pockets, false claims and deceptional tactics prevailed. Once again, the beverage industry has shown that it is more concerned with its financial health than the health of children and families.

We applaud Mayor Gonzalez, members of the city council, and residents who fought for children's education and improved community health. Sugary drink tax funding would have enabled an additional 1,000 children to attend high-quality pre-K programs. It would have added nearly 200 early education jobs and provided $3.30 in benefits to the community for every $1 generated from the tax. 

The American Heart Association will continue to support taxes on sugary drinks because of their positive impact on people’s health and well-being. Research shows that such taxes reduce consumption of unhealthy beverages in favor of water. Taxes in Mexico and Berkeley, CA have led to beneficial health impacts without hurting local businesses and customer sales.

Despite recent declines in traditional soda sales, consumption of other sugary drinks such as fruit drinks, sports drinks and sweetened teas has increased. Sugary drinks are the top source of added sugars for millions of people. The American Heart Association recommends kids drink no more than one sugary drink a week, but the average child now consumes ten times that amount. These levels of added liquid sugars increase risk for serious chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer and tooth decay. 

We applaud all city, county and state leaders, including Seattle and Multnomah County, who are working to bring the benefits of sugary drink taxes to their communities. The American Heart Association will continue to stand by you as you choose better health for your communities."

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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For Media Inquiries:

Suzette Harris (214) 706-1207; suzette.harris@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and strokeassociation.org