LOCAL NEWS

How Seattle felt about soda tax before it became reality

Aug 9, 2018, 9:07 AM
soda tax...
A sign indicating higher prices of sugary drinks due to Seattle's soda tax. (Dyer Oxley, MyNorthwest)
(Dyer Oxley, MyNorthwest)

The Seattle City Council is finally hearing about how the public really felt about the tax before it they passed it.

“What we found is that the folks who were most knowledgeable about the tax were the folks who were intimately involved in the development with the tax; council members, distributors; and health advocacy organizations,” Dr. Nadine Chan with Public Health Seattle-King County reported to the council’s Finance and Neighborhoods Committee. “The folks who were least knowledgeable were folks who were retailers, consumers, and youth … regardless of whether people supported the tax, there was common agreement that use of the revenue to support health-promoting activities … there was unanimous support for that.”

The Seattle City Council passed a sugary beverage tax in 2017. It went into effect at the beginning of this year.

An analysis of the sweetened beverage tax, aka soda tax, was carried out by researchers at the University of Washington and with Seattle Children’s Health. The result is a 257-page report on initial perceptions of the tax before it was implemented. Seattle was compared to cities of similar demographics, such as Minneapolis and the DC metro area, as well as Kent, Federal Way, and Auburn.

The council’s Finance and Neighborhood’s Committee heard the results of the study on Wednesday.

The study is not a representation of what Seattleites think of the soda tax now. Rather, this is an analysis of perceptions before the implementation of the tax. These perceptions will be used as a baseline as researchers further assess the soda tax to determine any change in perceptions and effects on the public, businesses, etc. The council expects to hear back about those results in October.

RELATED: Sugar and carbon tax proposals emerge in Washington

“The ultimate goal of this survey is to be able to assess the impact of the beverage tax on people’s norms and attitudes around sugary beverages and around the tax of themselves,” UW Public Health’s Dr. Jesse Jones-Smith told the council committee.

The report shows:

  • 58 percent of people polled approved of the tax (51 percent of approval came from low-income individuals, and 62 percent from high-income earners)
  • 58 percent believed the tax will improve the health of children; 55 percent believed the tax will generally improve public health
  • 79 percent believed the tax will not affect them negatively
  • 53 percent did not believe the tax would negatively affect small businesses
  • 82 percent believe drinking sugary drinks cause serious health effects

Researchers also conducted an in-store audit of drinks for sale in Seattle. A total of 226 stores in Seattle were compared to 232 stores around Kent, Auburn, and Federal Way. Prices were similar in Seattle and the comparison cities, though sugary drinks in Seattle — including prepared coffee drinks — are slightly more expensive than outside the city. Non-sugar added drinks are slightly cheaper in Seattle.

“These sugary beverages are often time prepared coffees which are some of the most expensive drinks we surveyed and they just cost a little bit more in Seattle, which we think is due to higher cost-of-living and higher labor costs here,” Jones-Smith said.

The study also shows what children and parents already drink in Seattle, indicating that local consumers drink less of the sugary stuff than comparison areas.

  • The highest consumption of any beverage for kids in Seattle was tap water.
  • Children in Seattle consume 8.6 ounces daily of sugary drinks subject to the tax versus 14.1 ounces in the comparison area.
  • Children consume 4.8 ounces of drinks not subject to the tax, versus 6.1 ounces in the comparison area.
  • Children consume 16.7 ounces of non-sugar added beverages, versus 19.2 ounces in the comparison area.
  • Parents in Seattle consume 14.3 ounces of sugary drinks subject to the tax; 21.4 ounces in comparison areas.
  • Parents consume 7 ounces of drink not subject to the tax; 9.8 in comparison areas.
  • Parents consume 19.1 ounces of non-sugar added drinks; 24 ounces in comparison areas.

Local News

fraud, employment, auditor...
Nicole Jennings

State auditor: Unemployment office needed stronger checks to prevent employee fraud

In a new report, the state Auditor's Office says a lack of checks at the Employment Security Department allowed a former employee to get away with fraud.
21 hours ago
Amber Alert...
MyNorthwest Staff

Amber Alert issued for 15-year-old girl in Central Washington

Police in Idaho have issued an Amber Alert for a missing 15-year-old girl who's believed to be in the rural area of Columbia County.  
21 hours ago
Amazon...
MyNorthwest Staff

Amazon unveils workforce development partnership for Washington high school students

A new partnership with Amazon means more than 2,000 high school students in Washington can earn certain computer-tech certifications.
21 hours ago
Monroe High School...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Extra security at Monroe High School after rumored threat on social media

Reports of a threat on social media prompted added security at Monroe High School on Monday. No immediate danger was discovered.
21 hours ago
Election fraud narrative, Vicki Kraft...
Nick Bowman

Election fraud narrative becomes common thread among candidates looking to unseat WA Republicans

Support for claims of election fraud has quickly become a common thread among candidates seeking to unseat state Republican incumbents.
21 hours ago
booster shots, omicron...
MyNorthwest Staff

Delta variant remains Washington’s ‘biggest concern’ despite arrival of omicron

With the omicron variant having been detected in Washington, state health leaders remain focused on a more dominant strain of the virus.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
How Seattle felt about soda tax before it became reality