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January 22, 2019

State Preemption to Prevent Local Taxation of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Author Affiliations
  • 1School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno, Reno
  • 2Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 3Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Communications Research Program, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 4Center for Vulnerable Populations, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, San Francisco, California
  • 5Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
  • 6Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(3):291-292. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.7770

Taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages can reduce their consumption, generate revenues, and promote public health.1,2 However, the beverage industry is using a strategy called preemption that poses a serious threat to the ability of localities to levy such taxes. Preemption occurs when a higher level of government (eg, a state) limits the authority of a lower level (eg, a city) to enact new policies. Since the 1980s, the tobacco industry has successfully lobbied policymakers for state preemption of local initiatives restricting tobacco advertising and smoking in public places.3 Lessons learned from experiences with the tobacco industry can inform public health responses to the beverage industry’s advocacy for state preemption of taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages.

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1 Comment for this article
Let the people decide for themselves
Henry Schwartz, MD | Retired
The article assumes that the battle is the beverage Industry against the population, I would submit that the beverage industry represents a significant part of the population. The silent population simply may not want the government and the public health nannies regulate everyday decisions, such as what to drink today. Let the individuals of the city, state, and nation decide what is best for themselves, and for their families.