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Elham AbolFateh

Health

Philadelphia Soda Tax Cuts Sales Of Sugary Drinks

Saturday 18/May/2019 - 08:46 PM
Sada El Balad
Edited by Ahmed Moamar
The sale of sodas in the city of Philadelphia has dropped following the implementation of a tax on sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened drinks، the Technical Times said.

In a study featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association، researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health discovered a decline in soda sales، which they described as "significant and substantial."

The change seemed to have come after the city government started implementing its new tax on sugary drinks.

Philadelphia's levy on such beverages was launched back in 2017. It requires a 1.5-cent tax for every ounce on sugar-sweetened or artificially sweetened drinks. This means that for every 20 ounces of soda، the policy would add 30 cents to its price، and about a dollar for every 2 liters.

Philadelphia's Tax On Sugar-Sweetened Drinks
Michael LeVasseur and Christina Roberto of UPenn's Perelman School of Medicine collaborated with Hannah Lawman at Philadelphia's public health department to carry out the study.

The researchers looked at sales data from 291 different stores in the city، such as pharmacies، supermarkets، and mass merchandise stores. They then compared their findings with data from the city of Baltimore، which served as a control group to examine other factors not related to the soda tax.

Soda sales in Philadelphia dropped by as much as 51 percent since the implementation of the levy.

While the sales of sugary beverages within the city have plummeted، the researchers found that sales in nearby areas also increased by 43 percent. It is possible that customers chose to buy soda from stores outside of Philadelphia to avoid having to pay the tax.

Considering the spike in sales in neighboring areas، the study showed a 38 percent dropped in soda sales in the city overall.

The Soda Tax Debate
Supporters of the soda tax believe the move helps discourage people from consuming unhealthy amounts of sugary beverages. It also provides a potential way to combat obesity and other health conditions.

However، critics of the policy claim that it only affects lower-income people and damages businesses. The tax also allegedly infringes on consumer rights.

The results of Philadelphia's soda tax could lead policymakers to consider implementing similar initiatives in their own jurisdictions.

In 2017، shoppers in the city bought nearly 1 billion fewer ounces of sugary beverages. This is significantly lower compared to figures from 2016.

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