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Philadelphia just became the first major US city to pass a soda tax

Similar attempts at taxing sugary and diet beverages failed twice before in Philadelphia and 30 other American cities, including New York.

by VICE News
Jun 16 2016, 8:30pm

A display of soda at a store in New York, New York, USA, 31 May 2012. (Justin Lane/EPA)

Philadelphia became the first major American city to impose a tax on soda drinks, leveling a 1.5 cent tax per ounce on the beverages despite a massive anti-tax campaign waged by the beverage industry and bodega owners.

The Philadelphia City Council passed the tax — which will apply to both sugar-sweetened and diet beverages — in a 13-4 vote.

Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney sold the plan by vowing to spend the $90 million in estimated new annual tax revenue on prekindergarten, community schools, and recreation centers.

"Thanks to the tireless advocacy of educators, parents, rec center volunteers and so many others, Philadelphia made a historic investment in our neighborhoods and in our education system today," the mayor said after the vote, according to the Associated Press.

He added that the new tax "will help improve the education, health, and prosperity of children and families all across our city for years to come."

Similar attempts at taxing sugary and diet beverages failed twice before in Philadelphia and 30 other American cities, including New York.

The tax will apply to sodas, flavored waters, bottled coffees, energy and sports drinks, teas, and other products, and could end up adding up to 18 cents to the cost of a 12-ounce can, $2.16 to the cost of a 12-pack, and $1 to the cost of a 2-liter, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

More than 68 percent of adults and 41 percent of children are overweight or obese in Philadelphia, according to the AP.

Related: Americans Are Still Getting Fatter

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