Will people drink less sugary soda if the price goes up? A new study suggests the answer is ... yes.
Researchers at Drexel University surveyed residents of Philadelphia both before and after a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sweetened drinks took effect. They also surveyed people in three other cities that don't have a beverage tax. The researchers found Philadelphians were about 40 percent less likely to drink sweetened beverages daily after the tax went into effect, compared with people in the other cities.
At the same time, Philadelphians' consumption of bottled water, which is not taxed, increased. The findings are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
"The Philadelphia beverage tax is one of the largest beverage taxes implemented in the U.S. so far," says Yichen Zhong, the study's lead author. She says the reduction in consumption of taxed beverages was not a surprise.