It just might in Berkeley, California. New data from surveys may suggest that adding a tax on soft drinks may in fact affect the consumption by consumers. These are very preliminary results, but that could be the start of new trends. Although many cities have tried unsuccessfully to pass similar taxes and restrictions with the goal of reducing sugary soda consumption by their residents, this is only one a few that have squeaked by. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was also one the few to enact a “soda tax”. Philadelphia City Council voted to approve a 1.5% per ounce levy on sugary and diet drinks in June of 2016.
Is this the start of a new health trend? We’ll see. The advantages to the community are basically this – healthier residents translates into lower healthcare costs for the entire community. Although there is strong opposition by many politicians and soda companies, there may be data that suggests that a tax on soda actually works.
In a study recently released in the American Journal of Public Health, a group at the University of California, Berkeley, looked at the extent to which low-income Berkeley residents cut down on sugary drinks four months after the implementation of the tax on sugary sodas and juices, energy drinks, and syrups that go into sugary drinks. They then compared the trend in Berkeley to two neighboring cities that don’t have soda taxes – Oakland and San Francisco.
The findings are interesting. While the consumption of sugary drinks decreased by 21 percent in Berkeley, it increased by 4 percent in the other cities. They also discovered a massive increase (63 percent) in water consumption in Berkeley during the study period. So low-income Berkeley residents were drinking less soda and more water — a very healthy change. Coincidence? Probably not.
For more information on this study, click HERE.