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Most of the taxes tend to be enough to bring in some extra money for struggling state budgets, but small enough not to rile soda manufacturers or significantly change buying habits, said Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.
"Taxes have to be large enough to affect consumption," said Brownell, who has called for a tax as high as 12 percent.
But most people don't want their soda taxed, according to the American Beverage Association, which represents soda manufacturers.
Association officials noted that Maine voters last fall rejected a soda tax. And in a press release last week, the organization pointed to a recent survey of 1,000 U.S. adults by Rasmussen Reports that found 56 percent of Americans are against taxes on candy and soda.
The beverage association did not pay for the telephone survey, said Debra Falk, a spokeswomen for the polling firm.
The Rand study confirms that small taxes on soda don't reduce obesity, and offers no evidence that larger taxes would do any better, said Christopher Gindlesperger, spokesman for beverage association.
"Taxes don't work. What does work is balancing the diet and exercise," he said.
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