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, 105 (11), 2194-201

Higher Retail Prices of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages 3 Months After Implementation of an Excise Tax in Berkeley, California


Higher Retail Prices of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages 3 Months After Implementation of an Excise Tax in Berkeley, California

Jennifer Falbe et al. Am J Public Health.


Objectives: We assessed the short-term ability to increase retail prices of the first US 1-cent-per-ounce excise tax on the distribution of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), which was implemented in March 2015 by Berkeley, California.

Methods: In 2014 and 2015, we examined pre- to posttax price changes of SSBs and non-SSBs in a variety of retailers in Berkeley and in the comparison cities Oakland and San Francisco, California. We examined price changes by beverage, brand, size, and retailer type.

Results: For smaller beverages (≤ 33.8 oz), price increases (cents/oz) in Berkeley relative to those in comparison cities were 0.69 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.36, 1.03) for soda, 0.47 (95% CI = 0.08, 0.87) for fruit-flavored beverages, and 0.47 (95% CI = 0.25, 0.69) for SSBs overall. For 2-liter bottles and multipacks of soda, relative price increases were 0.46 (95% CI = 0.03, 0.89) and 0.49 (95% CI = 0.21, 0.77). We observed no relative price increases for nontaxed beverages overall.

Conclusions: Approximately 3 months after the tax was implemented, SSB retail prices increased more in Berkeley than in nearby cities, marking a step in the causal pathway between the tax and reduced SSB consumption.


Price changes of SSBs and non-SSBs overall and differences in changes between Berkeley and comparison cities: Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco, CA; 2014 and 2015. Note. SSB = sugar-sweetened beverage. We estimated price change differences using linear regression models and adjusting for retailer type. Error bars show 95% confidence intervals. We collected posttax prices from late May through June 2015, and we collected most pretax prices in fall 2014. We collected fruit-flavored beverage prices from November 2014 through January 2015. Our analyses included sizes typically consumed in a single sitting (e.g., 20-oz soda). aAbsolute price increases in Oakland and San Francisco. bDifference in price change between Berkeley and comparison cities.

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