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Soda tax in Philly gets Buffalonians talking

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jun 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-18 09:02:11-04

A soda tax in Philadelphia is expected to spark a trend and make its way to other major cities around the country. 

The idea of the tax is that raising the prices of sugary beverages will result in people buying fewer of them, reduce their caloric intake, and lose weight, according to the Obesity Action Coalition.

But if a tax on soda and other sugary drinks makes is way to the Queen City, some Buffalonians say it will not make a difference in their sugar intake.

"The reality is people are going to continue their pattern," manager of My Tomato Pie Anthony Scioli said. "Someone has to want to be healthier in order to actually get healthier. A tax isn't going to make much difference."

The tax would add 1.5 cents per ounce on sugar-added and artificially-flavored soft drinks, according to CNN Money. That would increase a can of soda by 18 cents, a six pack by $1.08, and a two-liter bottle by $1.02.

Soda-drinker Aaron Stramaglia says he would be more inclined to skip the pop if it came down to it.

"It would tick me off," said Aaron. "I won't want to have it because it's so expensive."

Aaron and his family were sitting down to lunch when they began discussing the increase in soda prices if the tax made its way to Buffalo.

"When I go out I want to splurge and have some soda," Pat Stramaglia said. "I think I'm entitled to do that."

Sue Riester felt very strongly about how the soda tax money should be used in Philadelphia, and anywhere else it lands.

"It's all about education, I think," said Riester. "If you educate about healthy choices at an early age, that's where you're going to make a bigger change."

Registered Dietitian Erin Burch agrees that education is the only true solution to reducing America's intake of sugar. She says that the tax is a start and brings awareness to the issue, but, ultimately, the tax alone will not do enough.

"The tax brings people's attention to the issue, but people aren't going to stop buying soda because of it," Burch said. "At my practice we focus on sugar intake and carbohydrates and we look at how we can make changes [in diet and lifestyle] to help a diabetic patient, an overweight patient, etcetera."

Americans consume more than twice as much sugar as they should, according to the World Health Organization. But we are not the only ones looking at taxes as a step to the solution.

Mexico and England have also started taxing beverages with high sugar contents. Mexico has seen a decline in the purchase of sugary drinks since, according to TIME.

Keep an eye out, Buffalo, in time your soda may cost a little more than you are used to.