Taxes on sugary beverages seem like a sweet deal with their potential to whittle down obesity and diabetes rates while boosting city revenues to help pay for things like better schools and parks. Yet, they require broad public and political support to adopt over industry opposition.
Improving city schools and parks may not have been novel campaign promises, but when it came to funding such aspirations, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney had something new to say. He championed the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, a 1.5-cents-per-ounce tax on sweetened beverages to help fund schools, pre-kindergarten classes, parks and libraries.
Dan Ward is 27 and lives in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood. He is mostly vegan, rides his bike to work and walks in the park as often as he can. He also vaped for several years, using an electronic cigarette to satisfy a need to “have one vice to balance my otherwise healthy lifestyle.”