Philadelphia soda tax does not appear to hurt store sales

Since Philadelphia’s beverage tax became law in January 2017, soda and other sweetened beverage sales in the city have declined 57%, but overall business at chain stores in the city has not suffered, according to a team of researchers from Harvard, Pennsylvania, and Johns Hopkins universities. The team’s findings on the impact of the tax on store sales for the first six months were presented November 1, 2017 at a conference. Philadelphia was the first large city to implement such a tax.

“Declines in beverage sales don’t appear to be impacting total store sales in Philadelphia,” said Sara Bleich, professor of public health policy at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, in a November 1, 2017 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In the ongoing three-year study the investigators are comparing overall sales in Philadelphia stores to those of stores in Baltimore, which does not have such a tax.

Read the Philadelphia Inquirer article: Another take on soda tax: Businesses not hurt by levy

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