Philly soda tax study sees sales dip, health impact unclear

A new study bolsters evidence that soda taxes can reduce sales, but whether they influence health remains an open question.

The research found that a Philadelphia tax imposed in 2017 led to higher prices and a 38 percent decline in soda sales that year. That’s taking into account an increase in sales in neighboring cities.

The new results were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

While Americans’ soda intake has declined in recent years, physician groups including the AMA support soda taxes as a way to combat obesity. The beverage industry and many merchants have fought back, with court cases and ballot initiatives. In Pennsylvania, the state’s highest court upheld Philadelphia’s tax last year.

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