Sugary drink sales dropped 38% in Philadelphia after the city started taxing soda and other sweet beverages in 2017, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Philadelphia levied a tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on sweetened drinks beginning Jan. 1, 2017, following Berkeley, California, as the second city in the country to implement the levy.
Supporters argue soda taxes can discourage people from indulging in sugary drinks, possibly helping curb obesity, diabetes and other diet-related conditions. Critics say governments should not dictate what people drink, and raising the price in one city will simply cause people to shop elsewhere. Beverage sales inside Philadelphia’s city limits dropped by 51% but were partially offset by an increase in sales just outside the city, resulting in a net decrease in soda sales of 38% in the area, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found.