The Alaska Dental Society endorses a 10% tax on soda pop and candy at the wholesale level.
Excessive sugar consumption, especially in the form of soda pop, soft-drinks high in sugar and candy has been identified as prime contributor to obesity in children. Soda pop has the double effect on dental cavities of delivering sugar to the teeth as well as harmful acid. The Alaska Native Health Tribal Health Consortium has identified soda pop as a prime cause of dental cavities in rural areas.
Eighteen other states have recognized the effect soda pop plays in health, instituting taxes of varying degrees on soda pop. The accompanying chart illustrates the taxes imposed by various states. Most states have chosen to place a tax on syrup; however, this will not be practical in
Proceeds from this tax should be directed to the general fund – as required by the Alaska Constitution – but ear marked to provide funding for health care programs. The soda pop and candy tax should be used to provide:
- A education loan program to encourage health care workers to provide care in underserved areas;
- a state grant program for delivery of preventive care in underserved areas;
- a state program to encourage communities to fluoridate water systems and to provide fluoride supplementation in communities without fluoridated water, and
- funding of the Medicaid Enhanced Dental Services for Adults programs.
The excess revenue generated beyond the needs of these programs would be used to offset the costs of the Medicaid program