A new study bolsters evidence that soda taxes can reduce sales, but whether they influence health remains unclear.
The research found that Philadelphia’s 2017 tax led to a 38 percent decline in sugary soda and diet drink sales that year, even when taking into account an increase in sales in neighboring towns.
The results echo previous studies in Philadelphia, Berkeley and other places that have imposed beverage taxes, although the sales decline was larger than in some previous research. Unlike studies in Berkeley and Mexico, nontaxed drink sales didn’t increase during the study, “suggesting consumers were not substituting with these drinks in Philadelphia,” the researchers said.
The new results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Bloomberg Philanthropies, a charitable group that supports anti-obesity measures including soda taxes, paid for the study but otherwise had no role in the research.