Philadelphia moves toward sugary drink tax

Philadelphia could become the first big city in the nation with a tax on sugary beverages, after its City Council voted in favor of a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary drinks. Advocates for the move say it could pave the way for other big cities to do the same.

“I think a big city moving forward could really be the tipping point,” said Eric Rimm, professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Nutrition, in a June 9, 2016 article.

Advocates hope that the tax—which would add 30 cents to the cost of a 20-ounce bottle—will help curtail consumption of sugary beverages, which have been linked with increased risks for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, liver disease, and cavities.

Steven Gortmaker, professor of the practice of health sociology at Harvard Chan School, led the analysis that projected the potential health impacts of a Philadelphia soda tax. That analysis estimated that, within a few years of implementation, a 2-cent tax would prevent an estimated 1,556 cases of diabetes (a 1-cent tax would prevent 834 cases); would avert 24,000 cases of obesity each year (12,300 would be averted with a 1-cent tax); and would avert 500 deaths (a 1-cent tax would avert 250).

Read the article: Advocates see Phila. vote as ‘tipping point’ in soda wars

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Philadelphia soda tax could help prevent diabetes, avert deaths (Harvard Chan School news)