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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Drexel: One Year Into ‘Soda Tax,’ Researchers Find Law Did Not Affect Sweetened Beverages Consumption

One year into Philadelphia’s 1.5-cents-per-ounce “soda tax,” new findings show that the law had minimal to no influence on what Philadelphians are drinking. The results were published this month in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health from researchers at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health.

The team conducted a random phone survey of 515 adult residents of Philadelphia and neighboring cities of Camden and Trenton, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware. Respondents shared how much and how frequently they drink soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, and bottled water during a 30-day period when the tax was first implemented, in Dec. 2016 – Jan. 2017, and again reported their consumption over a 30-day period during a follow-up survey a year later in Dec. 2017 – Feb. 2018.

Taking into account other health behaviors and socio-demographics, at the one-year mark, 39 percent of Philadelphians, and 34 percent of those in surrounding cities, reported drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages. This amounts to only three fewer sugary beverages for Philadelphians each month — not a statistically significant difference.

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