By Gabrielle Sorto, CNN | Updated 11:48 AM ET, Wed May 15, 2019
(CNN) Implementing a sales tax may help get Americans to stop drinking sugary drinks, if a new study about Philadelphia soda consumption is any indication.
In 2017, Philadelphia became the second US city to put a tax on sugary drinks and soda. In the wake of the tax, sales on those beverages dropped by a whopping 51% in the first year, according to a study published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA.
The study compared beverage costs and sales in Philadelphia -- following implementation of the 1.5 cents per ounce tax -- with Baltimore, which has a similar demographic but doesn't have the same sales tax. With the tax, beverages in Philadelphia jumped from 5.43 cents per ounce in 2016 to 6.24 cents in 2017. In Baltimore, beverages went up from 5.33 cents per ounce to just 5.50 cents.
While researchers found that sales of sugary beverages fell in Philadelphia after the tax, beverage sales in nearby towns and counties without the tax went up. That suggests people may have been traveling to get their soda at a reduced price. Adjusting for this shift, researchers found sales dropped 38% overall.