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Sugary Drink Tax Update

Sugary Drink Tax Update

I saw that a court rejected an attempt to repeal the Sugary Drink Tax last week…If you want some background on it…. The truth is that most people have already forgotten that this past June, the Philadelphia City Council passed a 1.5 cents-per-ounce tax on soda and other sugary beverages. It was the first major city to do so and I believe that it will start the dominos falling for nearly every other city once they see the revenue that can be raised and the results that can be achieved. The original plan was to make the tax 3 cents but it was reduced with the concession that diet drinks are included in the list of “sugary drinks”.

Although it is still too early to give definitive results in Philadelphia, those communities in California that passed the same tax two years ago, saw as much as a 21% decrease in purchases of soda and other sugary drinks as well as a statistically significant increase in tap or bottled water consumption! Low-income communities bear the brunt of the health consequences of obesity and diabetes, so this decline in soda and sugary beverage consumption is very encouraging.

In our office, we continue to see the devastating effects of frequent sugary soda consumption. I usually tell the parents that it is “bus drivers syndrome” because they take a sip, drive to the next stop, take a sip, etc. We educate these patients that it is not necessarily the amount of soda that they are drinking, but the frequency with which they drink it that causes the decay. Please let us know before your child’s next visit if you feel they may be consuming a bit too many sugary beverages and we can have a talk with them. It is important to note that sugar can take the form of carbohydrates in sports drinks so it is not just the soda that can increase their decay rates.

–Dr. Dave

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