Proposed measure in Multnomah County would tax sugary drinks - KPTV - FOX 12

Proposed measure in Multnomah County would tax sugary drinks

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A tax on sugary drinks may be heading to voters in Multnomah County this fall.

The proposed measure would add a tax of one and a half cents per ounce on sugary drinks like soda, sweetened teas and energy drinks.

The goal is to get people, and more specifically, children to drink less sugar and form healthier habits early in life.

FOX 12 spoke with Providence cardiologist Robert Quintos on Tuesday. He says sugar plays a role in almost everything when it comes to heart health.

Many know there is a direct link to diabetes and obesity, but sugar can also raise cholesterol and blood pressure.

In other cities where similar sugar taxes are already in effect, consumption has gone down, and policy makers in Portland hope that will be the case here too.

They expect diabetes to drop by five percent locally within a year, while raising about $28 million for childhood education and health programs.

Dr. Quintos believes people have no idea how much sugar they really consume.

"The recommendations by the American Heart Association is to get less than between 6-9 teaspoons of sugar a day. The average American gets much more than that. One 20 ounce bottle of a soda gives you about 16 teaspoons a day," said Dr. Quintos.

The proposed measure was filed with the elections office on Monday.

From here, supporters need to gather more than 17,000 signatures to get the measure on the November ballot where voters will decide whether it passes.

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