The association of a sweetened beverage tax with changes in beverage prices and purchases at independent stores

Sara N. Bleich, Hannah G. Lawman, Michael T. Levasseur, Jiali Yan, Nandita Mitra, Caitlin M. Lowery, Ana Peterhans, Sophia Hua, Laura A. Gibson, Christina A. Roberto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In January 2017 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, implemented an excise tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on beverages sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Small independent stores are an important yet understudied setting. They are visited frequently in urban and lowincome areas, and sugary beverages are among the most commonly purchased items in them. We compared changes in beverage prices and purchases before and twelve months after tax implementation at small independent stores in Philadelphia and an untaxed control city, Baltimore, Maryland. Our sample included 134 stores with price data and 4,584 customer purchases. Compared with Baltimore, Philadelphia experienced significantly greater increases in the price of taxed beverages (1.81 cents per ounce, or 120.4 percent of the tax) and significantly larger declines in the volume of taxed beverages sold (5.76 ounces, or 38.9 percent) after tax implementation. Beverage excise taxes may be an effective policy tool for decreasing the purchase of sweetened drinks in small independent stores, particularly among populations at higher risk for sugar-sweetened beverage consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1130-1139
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Affairs
Volume39
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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