Start Date: August 2011

ID #: 69173

Principal Investigator: Colleen Barry, PhD, MPP

Organization: Johns Hopkins University

Funding Round: Rapid-Response Round 4

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Evidence indicates that sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes may reduce rates of childhood obesity, particularly among high-risk populations. However, state and local efforts to enact SSB taxes have been unsuccessful, and public opinion research indicates limited support for these policies. Enactment of SSB taxes will be unlikely without public support, yet little research is available to assess how to effectively frame these policies. To address these issues, this study will: 1) identify appropriate message frames, by conducting interviews with SSB tax advocates in two settings where legislation was recently defeated (Philadelphia and New York state) to identify emerging pro- and anti-tax arguments used in recent debates and identify subjective assessments of how message framing shaped prior policy debates, and 2) test message frames, by conducting a randomized longitudinal message framing experiment to test empirically how arguments for and against SSB taxes affect policy attitudes overall and within key subgroups, with the goal of identifying the most resilient messages to be deployed in future SSB tax policy debates.

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Inoculation in Competitive Framing: Examining Message Effects on Policy Preferences

This study examines the effect of inoculation as a strategy in competitive framing in the context of public opinion about taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). Inoculation is a theory of resistance to persuasion which suggests that by exposing an individual to a weakened form of an oppositional message, individuals can develop counterarguments to resist future More

March 2014

Strategic Messaging to Promote Taxation of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Lessons from Recent Political Campaigns

Strategic messaging is used to emphasize certain aspects of issues in policy debates, shaping public views and policy-making processes. This paper explores the use of strategic messaging by proponents of sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxation to influence public opinion, emphasizing the experiences in El Monte and Richmond, Calif., where SSB tax proposals were voted on in More

March 2014

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June 2013

News Coverage of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes: Pro- and Antitax Arguments in Public Discourse

This article examines how the news media frames the public debates about sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes. Researchers assessed how frequently pro- and anti-tax arguments appeared in national news media and in news outlets serving jurisdictions where SSB taxes were proposed and found that news stories focused on the SSB tax debate were more likely to More

February 2013

Taxes on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Results from a 2011 National Public Opinion Survey

This paper assessed public opinion about arguments commonly used in debates over taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and found greater public agreement with anti- than pro-tax arguments. A majority of respondents agreed with anti-SSB tax arguments that such taxes are: arbitrary because they do not affect consumption of other unhealthy foods (60%); a quick way More