At A Glance

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • Data collected to support youth obesity research.
  • Data on the extent to which each product is taxed at a higher rate than food (i.e., a disfavored tax).
  • State Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) codes available to facilitate data linkages.



To collect data about sales tax rates for sugar-sweetened sodas, bottled water, and selected snacks sold in the United States (U.S.) through grocery stores and vending machines in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Also contains data on non-sales taxes applicable to sodas and bottled water.

Target Population

All 50 states and the District of Columbia.


Began in 1997. Conducted annually. Most recent year conducted was 2014.


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Bridging the Gap).


Sample Design

Census of state laws.

Data are representative to the state level (including the District of Columbia).

Also includes data on non-sales taxes applicable to sugar-sweetened sodas and bottled water.

Source of Information

Data were compiled through primary legal research using state statutory laws available in Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw. Data were verified with state departments of revenue/taxation.

Annual Reference Date

Data reflect laws/policies in effect as of January 1 of the year in question.

Sample Size

Data gathering did not involve sampling. Data for 50 states and the District of Columbia available.

Key Variables




State Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) number

Content Areas

Candy tax rate (grocery and vending machine)
Chips/pretzels tax rate (grocery and vending machine)
Deminimus exception (i.e., if the total sale is below a specified amount and sold through vending machines, it is not subject to state sales tax)
Food exempt from state sales tax
Gum tax rate (grocery and vending machine)
Ice cream tax rate (grocery and vending machine)
Milk shakes/baked goods tax rate (grocery and vending machine)
Popsicles tax rate (grocery and vending machine)
Soda tax rate (grocery and vending machine)
State food tax
State sales tax
Tax statutes for food sold through vending machine
Tax statutes for vending machine items
Whether or not there is disfavored tax (i.e., extent to which product is taxed at a higher rate than food) on each selected food/beverage item (sold at store and sold through vending machines)
Bottled water tax rate

Data Access and Cost

Data Availability

Data for 1997-2014 are publicly available in an Excel workbook on the website..


Free of charge.


Geocode Variable(s)

State Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code.

Existing Linkages

See the Selected Publications page for examples of data linkages to Monitoring the Future (MTF) and Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K).

Special Note(s)

Maps showing the latest tax data are provided through the following resource on the Bridging the Gap website: 2014 Soda Tax Map.

Selected tax data from this system also are made available through the following sources/data systems:
USDA Food Environment Atlas
Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts Database
Trust for America’s Health “F as in Fat” reports (2009 and 2010)

Selected Publications

Click here for a full list of publications.


Chaloupka FJ, Johnston LD. Bridging the Gap: Research informing practice and policy for healthy youth behavior. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2007;33(4S):S147-S161.

Chaloupka FJ, Powell LM, Chriqui JF. [Healthy eating research & Bridging the Gap (2009): Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes and Public Health.

Chriqui JF, Chaloupka FJ, Powell LM, Eidson SS. A typology of beverage taxation: Multiple approaches for obesity prevention and revenue generation. Journal of Public Health Policy; 34(3):403-23, 2013.

Chriqui JF, Eidson SS, Bates H, Kowalczyk S, Chaloupka FJ. State sales tax rates for soft drinks and snacks sold through grocery stores and vending machines, 2007. Journal of Public Health Policy 2008;29(2):226-249.

Eidson S, Chriqui J, Bates H, Chaloupka F. State snack and soda taxes from 2003-2007: A public health policy approach to discouraging consumption of snacks and sodas. Poster presented at the American Public Health Association annual meeting, Washington, DC, 2007.

Greathouse KL, Chriqui J, Moser RP, Agurs-Collins T, Perna FM. The association of soda sales tax and school nutrition laws: a concordance of policies. Public Health Nutr. 2014 Oct;17(10):2201-6.

Powell LM, Chriqui J, Chaloupka FJ. Associations between state-level soda taxes and adolescent body mass index. Journal of Adolescent Health 2009;45(3 Suppl):S57-S63.

Powell LM, Chriqui JF. Food Taxes and Subsidies: Evidence and Policies for Obesity Prevention. In: Cawley J (Ed.), The Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity. New York (NY): Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

Slater S, Powell L, Mirtcheva D, Sandoval A, Chriqui J, Chaloupka F. Assessing environmental influences associated with diet, physical activity and obesity: An inventory of existing surveillance systems. Research Paper Series, No. 37. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, May 2008.

Sturm R, Powell LM, Chriqui JF, Chaloupka FJ. Soda taxes, soft drink consumption, and children’s body mass index. Health Affairs 2010;29(5):1052-1058.