Bottom Line: A few U.S. cities have instituted beverage taxes on sweetened drinks to generate revenue and to reduce consumption of these drinks because of their association with obesity and poor health. This study looked at changes in beverage prices and sales before and after Philadelphia implemented such a tax (1.5 cents per ounce) in 2017 compared with Baltimore, which had no such tax. In an analysis that included nearly 300 stores, study authors report Philadelphia's tax was associated with increased beverage prices and large sales declines, which were partially offset by increased purchases in neighboring areas. This study relied on data for beverages sold only at chain retailers.
Authors: Christina A. Roberto, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, and coauthors
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