Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Melissa Knox, Jessica Jones-Smith, and Vanessa Oddo Analyze Public Perception of Seattle’s Soda Tax

Posted: 6/29/2019 (CSDE Research)

Taxes on sugary beverages are an emerging strategy to improve health, but perceptions about unintended consequences may affect attitudes towards the policy. Supported by CSDE’s NICHD P2C infrastructure grant, CSDE Affiliates Melissa Knox, Economics Lecturer, Jessica Jones-Smith, Professor of Health Services & Epidemiology, and Vanessa Oddo, Acting Assistant Professor of Health Services, analyzed perceptions of the effects of Seattle’s sugary beverage tax in a upcoming BMC Public Health paper.

The authors conducted a survey on 851 adults and examined perceptions of the health and economic effects of the 2017 Seattle soda tax, and the differences in perceptions across income levels and racial/ethnic categories. Knox, Jonse-Smith, and Oddo found that most respondents supported the tax, believed that it would improve public health, and that it would not negatively affect small businesses, result in job loss, or impact their own finances. However, fewer lower-income participants perceived that the tax would improve public health, would not result in job loss, and would not negatively affect their finances. Compared to white participants, a smaller proportion of participants of color (non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics) perceived that the tax would have negative consequences for their own family finances.

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