Felipe Lozano-Rojas, assistant professor of public administration and policy in the School of Public and International Affairs, spoke with U.S. News & World Report about the impact a tax on soda could have on the economy and industry.
The recent study showed that a 2017 tax in Philadelphia on sugar-sweetened drinks caused people to buy more sugary candy or cookies to satisfy their sweet tooth.
“Taxes like this are associated with increases in consumption of additional sugary foods,” said Lozano-Rojas.
He explained that the failure of the tax to decrease sugar consumption is based on how the tax was designed and implemented.
“The offsetting forces right now are substantial, and we want to think how to make this policy more effective,” he said.
Lozano-Rojas said that the tax hurts poor members of the community more than others because sugary and less nutritional foods are often cheaper. He said a graduated tax, which would tax a drink based on the sugar content, would result in manufacturers putting less sugar in the drinks to begin with.
“Everybody wins, because you’re not destroying the market,” he said. “You’re not destroying consumption as much, but you’re having less sugar in everybody’s food.”