Jan 10, 2024 - News

Philadelphia sees effects from soda tax, per report

Illustration of a soda can with a quarter as the top.

Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

Philadelphia saw the biggest drop in sugar-sweetened beverage sales and the highest increase in their retail prices among four other large U.S. cities that put in place a soda tax, per a new study.

Why it matters: Philly was the first U.S. city to impose a tax on sweetened drinks in 2017, which funds investments in education and improvements to public spaces, like recreation centers.

Driving the news: In the two years after the tax, sugar-sweetened beverage sales in Philly dropped nearly 47%, per a study by JAMA Health Forum released last week.

  • Beverage prices also rose more than 58%.

What they did: The research analyzed and estimated the effects of the tax on sugar-sweetened beverage prices and purchase volume in the first two years in Philly; Boulder, Colorado; San Francisco; Oakland, California; and Seattle.

  • The study compared taxed beverages to prices and sales in untaxed cities over the same period.

By the numbers: In all five cities with sugar-sweetened beverage taxes, those sales decreased while prices increased, both by an average of about 33%, per the study.

The takeaway: "These taxes have the potential to have the same outcomes nationwide," Scott Kaplan, an economics expert at the United States Naval Academy and co-author of the report, tells Axios.

  • Putting soda taxes in place elsewhere would "likely generate significant population health benefits and medical cost savings," the report added.

Read the full study

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Philadelphia.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Philadelphia stories

No stories could be found

Philadelphiapostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Philadelphia.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more