Philadelphia Is the First Major U.S. City to Start Taxing Soda

Soda. Many people know it's not good for them no matter what the labels say, but they can't help resist it. I for one, am not a soda drinker, but if I were, and I lived in Philadelphia, I might find this news frustrating. Beginning January 1, Philly will become the first major American city with a soda tax despite a multimillion-dollar campaign by the beverage industry to prevent it.

A 1.5 cent-per-ounce tax on sugary and diet beverages was approved by the City Council in order to bring attention to the negative health effects associated with consuming them. Berkeley, California is the only other U.S. city with a similar law in effect, as many proposals for this tax have been brought to light in other cities before, but always failed. Philadelphia's mayor, Jim Kenney, says the estimated $90 million in new tax revenue should go toward funding for pre-K programs, community schools and rec centers, but despite the good idea, the American Beverage Association will continue to fight the tax, calling it "discriminatory and highly unpopular."

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Celebrity nutritionist Paula Simpson thinks this a great step in the right direction. "Today, healthier beverage options are available that offer flavor without the heavy sugar-laden content found in sodas. A 12 oz. can of pop contains on average 10 teaspoons of sugar. The high fructose corn syrup—a cheap replacement for cane sugar—is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a quick blood sugar spike and then a crash, which is detrimental to your health. A Harvard study that followed 40,000 men for two decades found that those who consumed sodas were more likely overweight with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome and 20 percent more likely to have a heart attack."

Looking at the big picture, maybe this tax will serve as a wakeup call for Americans to start rethinking their diet choices for the sake of their overall health. How long will it take for other major cities to follow suit?