SSB Taxes - Case studies

Advocating for sugar-sweetened beverage taxation: A Case Study of Mexico

The rise of obesity prevalence in Mexico in the recent years has had serious health, social and financial implications for the country. The country saw a rise in the incidence of diabetes and associated mortality rates, which represents a huge financial burden on the health system of the country. While a number of risk factors contribute to this epidemic, sugar-sweetened beverages have been highlighted “as a key driver of the obesity epidemic.” Mexico has one of the highest consumption rates of sugar-sweetened beverages in the world, and trends have shown an increase in consumption among women and children. In an attempt to halt the rising obesity prevalence rates, a sugar-sweetened beverage tax went into effect on January 1st, 2014. This case study presents the different component of the advocacy campaign and steps that led to the implementation of the tax.

The country’s implementation experience highlights important lessons learned for researchers, advocates, and policymakers in other jurisdictions that are interested in establishing similar measures. Three key elements were used in Mexico’s sugar-sweetened beverage tax campaign: (i) science, (ii) advocacy and (iii) context. Overall, this case study highlights lessons learned from the tax advocacy campaign and evidence on the tax’s effect on consumption, which will be helpful to consider in promoting other health-related initiatives.