Sugary Drink Legislation in Massachusetts

Case Solution

Monica Wang
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health ()

In the fall of 2016, as the January 2017 deadline for bills approached, State Senator Jason Lewis mused on the details of a sugary drinks bill in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Senator Lewis had a particular interest in legislative efforts to contain healthcare costs and prevent chronic diseases through prevention and wellness approaches. He was particularly concerned about the increasing consumption of sugary beverages and related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay, as he considered these beverages “exceptionally toxic foods.” As a seasoned legislator, he knew he faced an uphill battle and wanted an approach that would give the bill the best chance of success. Senator Lewis stated: “Massachusetts should lead legislative efforts to reduce the consumption of sugary beverages in the Northeast. Significant opposition is expected from the beverage industry, but we have a real opportunity to make progress at the local and state level. ”

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