not aloha: sugary drinks are making us sick.

Here’s the bitter truth that the beverage industry doesn’t want us to know: the sugar-filled drinks they’re selling are making Hawaiʻi sick. Beverage companies spend millions on advertising to influence us to “live aloha” by buying their products, yet they won’t admit that sugary drinks contribute to diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay! And it’s no coincidence: The communities most targeted by these ads also tend to be those that suffer the hardest under the burden of these diseases.

it’s time to change the culture of soda to a culture of health for our keiki!

Beverage fees generate revenue that can be reinvested in communities most impacted by health inequities. They also have the added benefit of reducing sugar consumption among our keiki and community-wide–a win-win.

As a pediatrician, I strongly support a fee on sugary drinks, especially if the revenue is invested in public health programs. To promote optimal health for children, and prevent obesity and diabetes, we must support our families and begin addressing the issue at all levels – from the individual to the systems and policies that shape the environment.

Dr. May Okihiro, Pediatrician, Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center

our solution

revenue generation

A small, 2-cent-per-ounce fee on drinks with added sugars will raise revenues for health and improve health!


healthy keiki

Sugary drinks are not an essential part of a healthy diet and our kids thrive when they drink water, not sugary beverages. 



This year, the legislative session will be all online, giving residents across the state the ability to participate in the legislative process! To learn more about the new process, watch “Legislative Advocacy in the Time of COVID” webinar hosted by Bob Toyofuku and the Pacific Law Center and read instructions on the 2021 Remote Testimony Procedures. The Public Access Room offers a wealth of information and friendly staff ready to assist you! Learn more about bills you can support this session to make this a reality:

hawaiʻi residents can benefit from sugary beverage fee revenues!

Similar to successful programs in Berkeley, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Seattle, residents in Hawaiʻi can reap the benefits of a fee on sugary drinks. 

Here are some creative ways that these cities are helping children and families benefit from healthy programs and healthy choices. All of these efforts are funded by revenues from a fee collected from sugary drinks: Nutrition programs for low-income residents, such as Double Up Food Bucks (known in many Hawaii markets as “DA BUX”), school cooking and gardening programs, Pre-K expansion and childcare, college-readiness programs, safe active spaces and physical education programs, oral health services, and other programs to prevent childhood obesity and chronic disease.

Healthier communities are more resilient communities. A sugary beverage fee will help ensure that Hawaiʻi communities emerge from the public health and economic crises caused by COVID-19 stronger than before!


join the movement

endorse the campaign

Add your or your organization’s name in support of legislation to create a sugary drink fee to fund public health programs.

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the facts


adults in Hawai‘i with diabetes or prediabetes.


% of Hawaiʻi adults who are overweight or obese.


annual obesity-related medical costs in Hawai‘i.


in 10 Hawai‘i 3rd graders affected by tooth decay.



Why focus on soda and sugary drinks?

What drinks would the fee apply to?

What’s the difference between a tax and a fee?

Click here for answers to these questions and more FAQs!


news & developments


American Heart Association

Center for Getting Things Started

Community Clinic of Maui Malama I Ke Ola Health Center

Cristeta Ancog MD

David M. Johnston

Debbie Millikan

Emi Orikasa

Erwin Quiñanola

Get Fit Kaua‘i – Healthy Eating Active Living Coalition of Kaua‘i County

GreenWheel Food Hub

Hawai‘i Appleseed for Law and Economic Justice

Hawai‘i Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (HAHPERD)

Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network

Hawai‘i Public Health Institute

Hui No Ke Ola Pono, Inc.

Janet Berreman

Jean Butel

John Kapanui

Joshua Fukumoto

Ka Ohana O Na Pua

Kahoʻomiki – Council of Physical Activity & Nutrition

Kathryn Penwell 

Kelsey Amos

Lillian Coltin

Lydi Bernal

Lynn Batten

Monica Esquivel

Obesity Prevention Task Force

Papa Ola Lokahi


Rayleen Egami

Stacy Evensen

Sydney Millerd

Usha Kilpatrick

Waimanalo Health Center

Wendy Baker

West Hawai’i Community Health Center

*Want to see your organization’s name on this list? Endorse the campaign here!

The Bitter Truth Hawaiʻi Campaign is a joint initiative of the Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute and Hawaiʻi Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, funded in part by a grant from Voices for Healthy Kids, an initiative of the American Heart Association with support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.