State Preemption: An Emerging Threat to Local Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxation

Eric Crosbie, Jennifer L. Pomeranz, Kathrine E. Wright, Samantha Hoeper, Laura Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We sought to examine the strategies promoting and countering state preemption of local sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes in the United States. Using Crosbie and Schmidt's tobacco preemption framework, we analyzed key tactics used by the SSB industry to achieve state preemption of local taxes identified in news sources, industry Web sites, government reports, and public documents. Starting in 2017, 4 states rejected and 4 passed laws preempting local SSB taxes. The beverage industry attempted to secure state preemption through front groups and trade associations, lobbying key policymakers, inserting preemptive language into other legislation, and issuing legal threats and challenges. The public health community's response is in the early stages of engaging in media advocacy, educating policymakers, mobilizing national collaboration, and expanding legal networks. State preemption of local SSB taxes is in the early stages but will likely scale up as local tax proposals increase. The public health community has a substantial role in proactively working to prevent preemption concurrent with health policy activity and using additional strategies successfully used in tobacco control to stop preemption diffusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-686
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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