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Mexico mulls a soda tax

September 12, 2013

Last year, when New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban on large sodas, some people applauded the movement while others said it crossed a boundary. However, some officials in Mexico seem to think it was a good idea, as the nation is now mulling adding an extra tax on sweet drinks, according to American Al Jazeera.

Mexico's potential tax
While the New York proposition sought to outright ban certain sizes of sugary beverages, the Mexico proposal is slightly different. Instead of forbidding oversized drinks, the country's president, Enrique Pena Nieto, suggests that his government add a small tax on to all sweetened drinks. The move would raise prices by roughly one peso, about eight cents in the U.S., per liter.

The motivations behind both soda laws is the same - to curb obesity. The news source reports that Mexico has a growing obesity problem, and recently passed the U.S. as the country with the greatest prevalence of the problem. A total of 32.8 percent of the country's population is obese, while that figure hovers around 31.8 percent in the U.S. Soda may be a big part of the problem in Mexico, as the country also recently surpassed the U.S. in terms of soda consumption, with the average Mexican citizen drinking 163 liters of soda per year. That number is 118 in the U.S.

U.S.-Mexico teamwork
The U.S. and Mexico have been working together to tackle this difficult issue. According to the media outlet, Mayor Bloomberg's charity organization helped fund various campaigns, including subway advertisements, that aimed to raise awareness about the obesity epidemic.

China Post reports that Mayor Bloomberg even composed a tweet to Nieto, thanking him for "taking action on the obesity epidemic" with his new taxation proposal. The Mexican president wrote back, returning the thanks.

For its part, Coca-Cola has spoken out against Mexico's potential tax, saying that it was more important to increase people's understanding of how to count calories, whether they came from soda or other sources.

People living in Mexico who have family in the U.S. may want to use international calling cards to converse about this issue, as it is clear that it is important both north and south of the border. They can discuss whether they think bans and taxation are the appropriate ways to address the obesity epidemic. 

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