Last week, a new bill aimed at fighting diabetes in California by imposing warning labels on soda and other sweetened drinks passed the Senate in a 21-13 vote. A new report from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health claims most Los Angeles-area residents would support a soda tax, reports California Healthline.
The findings are based on telephone survey data collected from 1,000 L.A County adults in a 2011 study.
Nearly 66% of respondents said they would support a tax on soda and other sugary drinks. A resounding 75% said they supported limiting junk food advertising to kids.
According to Reuters, support for the tax was strongest among low-income residents, in which rates of obesity and diabetes are highest.
Paul Simon, lead author of the study and head of chronic disease prevention for Los Angeles County, told Reuters that opponents have mischaracterized the tax:
“It’s described as regressive, that it would discriminate against poorer people because they have less money,” he said. “Nevertheless, we found in our study that there is more support among these groups.”
CalBev, a beverage industry trade association, said results from surveys do not always match up with realities on the ground.
“A polling question asked in a vacuum without any context often gives the impression that voters support these types of taxes, but the reality is when you put it directly to the voters, they always go down in defeat.”
SB 1000, introduced by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), heads to the Assembly for its next test.
This article has been updated.