SEATTLE — Sales of soda and other sugary beverages dropped around 22% during the first year Seattle implemented its 1.75 cents per fluid ounce tax, a new study found.
The study, conducted by University of Illinois at Chicago, compared Seattle to Portland where sugary beverages are not taxed. The researchers found a marked difference in consumption, with Portland residents purchasing sugary beverages at comparably higher levels.
Seattle’s beverage tax took effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The Seattle City Council passed the controversial tax on sugary drinks, including soda, by a vote of 7-1 in 2017.
Since then future taxes on soda have been blocked after an election that saw corporate money poured into anti-tax efforts.
Regardless of political consequences, the study on Seattle's soda tax found it effectively achieves one of its main goals: reducing the consumption of soda and other beverages.
Prices of sugary drinks increased by an average of 20%. Consumption of soda was down more than juice-based products, with soda seeing a 29% drop in total consumption. Energy drinks saw the least change with only a 13% drop in consumption.