Study finds Philly soda tax reduced sales

Study finds Philly soda tax reduced sales
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A study published Tuesday found that soda sales have dropped in Philadelphia since the city implemented a tax on the sugary beverages in 2017, while the decline was partially offset by an increase in sales in nearby neighborhoods.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the volume of sales of beverages subject to the tax decreased by 51 percent, or 1.3 billion ounces, while sales in "border zip codes" offset the drop by 24.4 percent.

After the tax, which was strongly opposed by the soda industry, prices increased by about 1.56 cents per ounce at pharmacies, 0.87 cents at mass merchandise stores and 0.65 cents at supermarkets. Researchers looked into sales at 369 stores including 101 supermarkets, 31 mass merchandise stores and 237 pharmacies. 

"In Philadelphia in 2017, the implementation of a beverage excise tax on sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages was associated with significantly higher beverage prices and a significant and substantial decline in volume of taxed beverages sold," researchers said in their conclusion.

Bloomberg Philanthropies, which works on obesity prevention among other causes, provided funds for the study but was not involved in the research. 

The study did not include information on actual soda consumption or obesity rates. The tax has also provided the city with $130 million to be spent on free preschool programs and other local benefits, according to The Associated Press