Soda Tax Could Save Lives | 2,600 — that’s how many lives a soda tax could save, according to a new study about the health effects of such a tax. Researchers from University of California (San Francisco) and Columbia University in New York City found that a penny-per-ounce tax on soft drinks — or 12 cents on a can — would reduce consumption by 10 to 15 percent over a decade. “Over the period 2010–20, the tax was estimated to prevent (240,000 cases of diabetes a year), 95,000 coronary heart events, 8,000 strokes, and 26,000 premature deaths, while avoiding more than $17 billion in medical costs,” the researchers wrote in Health Affairs. So far, Maryland taxes sodas at a 6 percent rate, but attempts in other states have failed. New York proposed a soda tax in 2009 but then abandoned the plan.