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A Foolproof Way to Promote Healthier Choices

A Foolproof Way to Promote Healthier Choices

How state soda and cigarette taxes can encourage better decision making.

When the Philadelphia 76ers cruised to a 130-103 victory over the Miami Heat in game one of their best-of-seven playoff series this year, and the Cleveland Cavs were struggling to reach their potential, Dr. Mike looked around for a possible reason for the discrepancy in their performances. One theory he came up with: Philly has a soda tax that’s raised prices by around 20 percent and slashed soda sales. His plea: Cleveland, tax sodas—our teams (especially the Browns) need all the help they can get!

A study out of Drexel University published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that when sugary sodas started being taxed in Philadelphia, residents (players too we bet) were not only 40 percent less likely to report drinking them daily, they were 64 percent less likely to down energy drinks and 58 percent more likely to drink bottled water.

Taxes on other health bombs also work. In New York City where a pack of cigarettes can cost $15, smoking rates are among the lowest in the nation at 14.4 percent. And several studies indicate in high-risk populations, taxes of 20 percent or more on junk food help curb obesity.

There’s ample evidence that you pay a high price for indulging in sugar-added beverages, tobacco, and junk food: crippling chronic diseases and premature death. So, tell your state and local government you’re for higher taxes on food, drinks and products that damage lives and cost the public billions in unnecessary health care bills.

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