Health Care

Sugary Drink Sales Fizzled After Soda Tax

Sugary Drink Sales Fizzled After Soda Tax

While the impact of the recently-enacted sugary beverage tax on Philadelphia has yet to be determined, a new study on a similar policy in a California city offers promising signs.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine, shows that a year after Berkeley's soda tax took effect in 2015, the city saw a almost 10 percent drop in purchases of sugary drinks and a almost 16 percent increase in sales of bottled water.

The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) is keen to see the measure introduced in New Zealand. The soda tax in Mexico, implemented in 2014, has led to an important decrease in sugar-sweetened drinks. "This further builds on Mexico's sugary drink tax study, which also showed a decline in sugary drinks purchases", said NZDA spokesperson Dr Rob Beaglehole.

CT lawmakers are considering issuing a tax on sugary drinks, according to Fox 61.

In an effort to curb soda consumption and subsequently reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes rates, six USA cities have rallied to the soda tax initiative in 2016.

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Absolute sales of all beverages, including SSBs, actually increased by about 1% after the tax, but the researchers came up with the 9.6% figure by estimating what SSB sales would have been if the tax were not in place, based on pre-tax trends.

Self-reported consumption of sugary drinks fell, but not significantly so, among Berkeley residents as measured in grams (-19.8%; P=0.49) and in mean caloric intake (-13.3%; P=0.56).

Researchers believe soda taxes in those communities could have a greater impact than in Berkeley because per capita consumption of sweetened beverages is about three times lower in Berkeley than the country as a whole, Silver said.

Berkeley voters levied the tax on soda and other sugary drinks to try to curb consumption and stem the epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

Last year, voters approved a similar soda tax in San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, Calif., as well as in Boulder, Colo., Cook County, Ill., and Philadelphia.

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To compile the study, researchers collected 15.5 million supermarket checkouts at 26 stores, including three in Berkeley and six in nearby cities. In the 26-store survey, the tax was more than fully passed on in large and small chain groceries and gas stations, partially passed on in pharmacies, and not passed on at all in small independent gas stations and corner stores. In the study that included 15.5 million transactions, about two-thirds of the 1c-per-oz tax (0.67c per oz) was passed through to consumers by price increases on the taxed drinks. However, stores in Berkeley fared better than stores in surrounding areas. "While telephone respondents did not report changes in shopping location, scanner data were consistent with some increased purchasing of SSBs in neighboring cities", they added.

Adults and young children in the United Kingdom now consume twice the maximum recommended amount of added sugar while 11-18 year olds eat and drink three times the recommended limit.

Proponents of soda taxes hailed the study as evidence of their effectiveness.

Silver disclosed no financial relationships with industry.

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