In her upcoming article in the Tulane Law Review, Professor Katherine Pratt of Loyola Law School Los Angeles will examine arguments that public health advocates have made in support of antiobesity soda and food taxes. In A Constructive Critique of Public Health Arguments for Antiobesity Soda Taxes and Food Taxes, Pratt examines the arguments urged in support of such antiobesity taxes, including that the government should recover some of the high health care costs associated with obesity by taxing its causes, and looks to tobacco taxes as an analogy. In critiquing this and other arguments in favor of antiobesity taxes, Pratt opines whether, in contemporary food consumer culture, an antiobesity tax would even be noticed, but ultimately suggests a way forward for such taxes.
Pratt's article will be published at a particularly salient time. This month, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a ban on soda drinks larger than sixteen ounces. As NPR notes, critics of the ban question whether it will have an affect on changing behaviors. Several of those interviewed by NPR are cited extensively in Pratt's upcoming article.