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Searching for Public Health Law’s Sweet Spot: The Regulation of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Journal Article

David Studdert and colleagues explore how to balance public health, individual freedom, and good government when it comes to sugar-sweetened drinks. Over the last decade, many national, state, and local governments have introduced laws aimed at curbing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), especially by children. The main regulatory approaches are taxes, restrictions on the availability of SSBs in schools, restrictions on advertising and marketing, labeling requirements, and government procurement and benefits standards. Efforts to regulate in this area often encounter stiff opposition, including claims that the laws are inequitable, do not achieve their goals, and have negative economic effects. Several lessons can be drawn from the international experience with SSB regulation to date, which may inform future design and implementation of legal interventions to combat noncommunicable disease.

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