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University of Washington to study Seattle soda tax

The city of Seattle to give the University of Washington $500,000 to study the socio-economic impact of the new soda tax.
<p>That Pepsi is going to cost you. (Photo: Getty)</p>

The city of Seattle has given $500,000 to UW to study the effectiveness, implementation and unintended consequences of the new soda tax that took effect on January 1st.

A multi-disciplinary team, led by obesity epidemiologist Jesse Jones-Smith of the UW School of Public Health, researchers from School of Public Health, School of Social Work, Evans School of Public Policy & Governance and Seattle Children's Research Institute, will study the impact of the new tax.

The study will take place over the next four years and could help policy makers better understand the tax and how to continue implementing positive policies for the community.

“Long term, we'll want to know if this tax has an impact on lower-income populations, and if it has any impact that is similar or different on the general population,” Jones-Smith said.“That will inform policy so we can get the most public health benefit out of it.”

Seattle's new tax on sugary drinks starts on New Year's Day.

The tax comes out to an extra 21-cents on every 12-ounce can or bottle of sugar-sweetened drinks. The tax excludes diet drinks.

Supporters said the tax would cut down on the consumption of sugary drinks that have little nutritional value and are linked to obesity, diabetes and other health problems.

Businesses and labor groups that opposed the tax said it would hurt small businesses and cost jobs. Other critics called it regressive, saying it would affect low-income consumers the most.

Seattle is among a handful of cities nationwide that have a soda tax.

Related: Seattle City Council passes soda tax

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