That includes 62 percent of women and 47 percent of men. It is dangerous and should be banned. Just seven percent say people cannot control their level of obesity. Defining Junk Food. Since junk food is known to cause health problems such as cancer, and these facts are common knowledge, taxes must be employed on these products just … Some of the arguments reflect conflicting beliefs on fundamental facts. Taxes on junk food would minimize the rate of obesity. Taxing junk food, sodas, tobacco and other unhealthy products works to cut both disease and the cost to society. should be the focus of strategies aimed at preventing and treating overweight and obesity in youth.”  ((http://www.nofoodtaxes.com/facts/)), The NY Times has suggested that the Americans Against Food Taxes is a front for the soft drink industry reporting that “Calls to a media contact listed on the site reach the American Beverage Association, an industry organization whose board is made up of top executives from the major soft drink manufacturers.” ((http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/business/17soda.html?_r=1)). Not entirely sure it would work - for a start define 'junk' food. But, there is no clear dividing line between healthy and unhealthy food. The U.S. federal government does not have sales taxes, but it does administer dozens of manufacturer excise taxes. Junk foods are easier to manage when they are allowed as part of the school policy. Continued debate over of the adverse health impacts of sugary drinks is coupled with heating debate over the propriety of a tax on a dietary pleasure — a pleasure some believe people have an unassailable right to partake in, but others find to be a health hazard. "Junk food" taxes are also not guaranteed to reduce overall caloric intake, as some hope. See the discussion of junk food tax here)), does Americans Against Food Taxes’ argument that the tax would cause an economic burden, particularly on the poor, necessarily condemn the tax? But if society believes that people have a right to cause and endure any detriment that might be caused by junk food, free of the influence of taxation, then the aforementioned debate may be moot. ((http://www.nofoodtaxes.com/about/)), To support their stance that the tax would have no “meaningful impact on…public health” they site a variety of studies including one from the The Mercatus Center at George Mason University that Americans Against Food Taxes says finds “that any impact of a soft drink tax would be trivial because soft drink consumption is a relatively small part of the diet for overweight people.”  Further, they suggest that the financial impact of the tax could be excessively burdensome, particularly on the poor. Here are the pros and cons to consider on this subject. For example, many cheeses are high in fat, yet such foods are not usually considered as “junk food” despite their effects on obesity. ((http://www.santafenewmexican.com/LocalColumnsViewpoints/Their-View-Tax-junk-food–not-fruits–vegetables-and-baby-food))  ((The debate over junk food tax is often brought up as an expansion of taxation. Generate additional revenue, part of which could be used to offset costs of treating medical issues that arise from over consumption of junk foods. But in the 1950s, the majority of Americans were happy with their weight, and only about one in three wanted to lose weight. )), A penny-per-ounce excise tax could reduce consumption of sugaredbeverages by more than 10%. These foods are considered “nonessential” and have been shown to lead to obesity. In contrast,a sales tax on sugared drinks would generate considerable revenue,and as with the tax on tobacco, it could become a key tool inefforts to improve health. Arguably the most controversial aspect is which foods will be taxed. / CBS News. Junk food should be taxed for a number of reasons: Firstly, junk food contains a high content of unhealthy sugars, fats and salts. 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But since the biological mechanisms controlling thirst and hunger are separate, he says reducing calories by changing people’s drinking tastes – rather than chasing elusive ways to cut their eating – is a viable way of fighting fat. However, with New Mexico facing a potential re-taxation of all foods, the concept of a junk food tax would represent a limitation on proposed taxation. The whole premise of the easy fix of taxing junk food is basic economics. Their answer: not … And why I say starving public is because no one in their right mind, unless suffering from starvation, would eat these processed offerings. So why not tax junk food to steer people away from harmful foods? The government will save a lot money by adding taxes on junk food, but also will save many peoples’ lives which is more important and trough this policy the government will interfere in peoples’ food choices in a good way. Should junk food be allowed in schools today? First published on January 7, 2010 / 6:30 PM. Make Your Own Watch ID to Carry Emergency Contact and Medical Information. ‘Junk food’ taxes are also not guaranteed to reduce overall caloric intake, as some hope. It would help combat New Mexico’s growing obesity crisis, which would reduce health care expenses over the long term. Feel free to post additional arguments in the comments section. While this may be considered problematic to many, for government bodies that wish to provide themselves with an increased revenue stream, this is a huge boon to their bottom line. Taxes will be more effective at discouraging consumption of junk food that education alone. "It is true, though, that if you wanted to make a big impact on people's health in this country, reducing things like soda consumption would be helpful.". Is there nothing left that this government doesn't want to tax. To what extent does this policy hold true for sodas and other junk foods? It is difficult to accurately quantify how much various foods contribute to health problems and thus difficult to determine which foods should be classified as “junk food” and subject to taxation. With obesity and diabetes at record levels, many public health experts believe governments should tax soda, sweets, junk food, and other unhealthy foods and drinks. She hinted she would like to see a tax on chocolate and junk food, with the proceeds going to subsidise fruit and vegetables, which should be on offer in obvious places in shops. So … Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Copyright © 2021 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved. The opponents and proponents of the junk food tax seem to draw vastly different conclusions about the effect of sugary drinks on national health. Would help discourage consumption of unhealthy foods. Many disincentives from parking fines to cigarette taxes disproportionately impact lower income citizens without condemnation. Could shift consumer spending to healthier foods, bolstering the industries that produce those foods. Northwest Flight 253: How Do We Reconcile the Risk Posed by a Failed Attempt? Conservatives greet such attempts as evidence of the “nanny state” limiting personal choice, while hunger groups view the taxes as discriminatory against the poor, who consume more high-calorie foods. In March 2015, the city of Berkley, California implemented a penny per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (“SSB”). They do not feel, however, that the government should be imposing a tax on the foods most likely to make them obese. 1. By taxing unhealthy food components (saturated fats, excess salt, sugars) and subsidising healthy foods (fr… A junk food tax is regressive The tax is a sales tax and all sales taxes are regressive. I should think not. Should junk food be heavily taxed like cigarettes and alcohol? Then look at cigarettes - they are heavily taxed but you still see 1 in 4 people smoking I've seen people smoking right under a sign saying 'No Smoking'! It might be true that spending on sodas represents a larger portion of income for the poor. Patients got significantly less of their calories from soda or pizza when there was a … Plus, consuming too many foods no matter how healthy they are will contribute to … For a tax to be effective at reducing obesity, consumers must not respond by switching to other unhealthy foods not covered by the tax. ((For example, there is some dispute about the impact that sodas have on obesity and the impact that a tax would have on soda consumption.)). Instead, she encourages parents to be on the same page and focus on creating a healthy balance. ((http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/360/18/1805)), Below is an attempt to summarize the arguments coming from both sides of the debate. Fitness Tax Credit: Fitness Inducer or Revenue Reducer? Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Consuming this type of food frequently and in large portions can lead to a number of health risks such as diabetes, heart problems and obesity. Taxing unhealthy food products is not a new concept. There is evidence that taxes on cigarettes reduced cigarette consumption. And a majority of Americans – 55 percent – say they themselves would like to lose weight. Here are some recent arguments from vocal advocates on both sides of the debate: The coalition has twin primary aims: 1) To promote a healthy economy and healthy lifestyles by educating Americans about smart solutions that rely upon science, economic realities and common sense; and 2) To prevent the enactment of this regressive and discriminatory tax that will not teach our children how to have a healthy lifestyle, and will have no meaningful impact on child behavior or public health, but will have a negative impact on American families struggling in this economy. Sixty percent say they oppose such a tax, while 38 percent say it's a good idea. I am not attacking foods that contain a few grams of fat, nor am I saying that someone should not be able to eat tax-free junk food. They suggest that for the purposes of such a tax, junk food should be defined according to a combination of product category (such as candy, salty … There are precedents. It's an idea that comes up whenever people bemoan how much sugar Americans consume or how common obesity and diabetes have become. Taxing junk food may not solve the issue of obesity in the United States, but it will likely curb the consumption of toxic foods—a step in the right direction. List of the Pros of Having Junk Food in Schools. Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, and Mexico have such taxes. The Senate has already considered a tax on soda and other sugary drinks, and President Obama has said he is open to such a tax. Is this what we want Earth to become for the future generations? Just five percent say it is not serious. Why junk food should not be taxed? http://www.votervoice.net/Core.aspx?AID=989&APP=GAC&IssueID=18593&SiteID=-1, Mercatus Center at George Mason University, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/business/17soda.html?_r=1, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5B843A20091210, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, http://www.iom.edu/en/Reports/2009/ChildhoodObesityPreventionLocalGovernments.aspx, http://www.iom.edu/~/media/Files/Report%20Files/2009/ChildhoodObesityPreventionLocalGovernments/local%20govts%20obesity%20report%20brief%20FINAL%20for%20web.ashx, http://www.santafenewmexican.com/LocalColumnsViewpoints/Their-View-Tax-junk-food–not-fruits–vegetables-and-baby-food, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/360/18/1805, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_taxes_in_the_United_States. People with a high body mass index due to fat should pay extra on the bus, on flights, on trains and more taxes towards NHS treatment. A surtax on foods identified as "junk" would be a punishing measure that would hurt busy families that enjoy the odd pizza night, and it would be especially hard on … But are sodas and other junk food necessities? a junk-food tax would do some good. Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., current director of the. Among all potential unhealthy habits that people may enjoy, junk food would be unfairly singled out. Importantly, fast food consumption (a common target for a "fat tax") may be relatively unresponsive to price changes because individuals may simply switch to other non-taxed, but still energy-dense (lots of calories per serving size) foods. Many states that have sales taxes have exempted groceries from sales taxes. Would distract from more important health agendas like educating people to make their own healthy dietary decisions. One can debate the detrimental impact of certain junk foods and the potential (or lack of potential) positive impact that taxing them might have. This is why I believe that junk food should … January 7, 2010 / 6:30 PM See More Stories and Videos from the Series: Where America StandsRead the Complete Poll. ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_taxes_in_the_United_States))  One predominant policy for exempting groceries from sale taxes is that since groceries are necessities, lower income people are likely to spend a significant portion of their income on groceries and a tax on groceries is thus likely to be regressive. In response to the proposal for an additional tax on junk food, Nevada Republican lawmaker, Pat Hickey, stated, "I don't think government should be picking winners and losers with respect to people's diets.” Hickey explains that the government is not in the position to … With obesity and diabetes at record levels, many public health experts believe governments should tax soda, sweets, junk food, and other unhealthy foods and drinks. March 10, 2010— -- Taxing junk food may help reduce obesity and improve health, researchers have found. The researchers found that U.S. food tax bills and laws with a nutritional purpose and junk food taxes in Hungary and Mexico overwhelmingly use an excise tax mechanism. Fat should be taxed, not fatty foods. Arguments For and Against Junk Food and Soda Taxes. Consumers have not expressed enough price sensitivity to junk food to conclude that a junk food tax would adequately dissuade consumption. Researchers found that a tax on junk food is both legally and administratively feasible at the federal level in the United States. Junk food should be taxed because the rate of obesity is rising rapidly, so people need to choose their foods more wisely, and with the rights plans the healthier foods could be more affordable. This poll was taken as part of CBS News' "Where America Stands" series, an in-depth look at where the country stands today on key topics and an outlook for the future decade. Junk food is highly unhealthy and can transform fit, healthy human beings into obese, lazy people. The debate over junk food taxes is drawing increasing attention from both sides. Lisa M. Powell and Frank J. Chaloupka recently combed the literature to find out what we know about how junk food taxes affect obesity. “If you say you can’t have ice cream except for Saturday nights, they’re going to figure out another way to get that ice cream,” she says. Since most people are who are addicted to junk food do not have the ability 2. Such taxes are worth the effort, experts argue. Popkin advocates a tax on sweetened drinks as a step towards changing the tastes of people away from sugary drinks. Would hurt industries that create and sell the taxed foods, potentially costing jobs in those industries. The nutrition expert says the basic problem is that when people shift from drinking water or unsweetened tea and coffee to sugary drinks and juices, they don’t cut their food intake. The tax unfairly targets junk food. Yet when cities and states have tried to enact so-called snack taxes on soda, candy and other junk food, they’ve met resistance. Eating too much junk food can cause your life to be shortened, and this is terrible. "People's attitude is that they don't necessarily want Big Brother telling them what to eat or drink, and I understand that," he said in an interview last year. Reduce the costs of treating medical issues to which junk food contributes. Lower income people either spend more money in total, or more money as a percentage of their total income, on junk food. Required fields are marked *. Most Americans want to lose weight, a new CBS News poll finds – but they do not favor a tax on junk food and do not believe that such a tax would help … New Mexico is facing a re-imposition of a food tax. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Your email address will not be published. Forty percent of Americans are happy with their current weight, while a small number – five percent – would like to gain weight. A tax works by raising the final price to consumers, and for many goods this means that the final quantity of … Nobody would accuse a stick of celery of being junk food, but an artificial cream-filled cake certainly is. But if (1) junk food significantly adversely impacts health and (2) as a matter of social policy we want to disincentivize people from engaging in the unhealthy habit of consuming such foods  ((Whether or not there is a legitimate public interest in regulating individual self-destructive behavior is subject to debate. Foods that are more likely to fall under a junk food tax are those high in sugar, calories, and fat and low in nutrient value – like soda, for example. They also site an article in Obesity Reviews; 2005 suggesting that   “Overweight status was not associated with the intake of fruits, vegetables, and soft drinks….Increasing physical activity participation and decreasing television viewing  ((Would Obesity Reviews choose a TV tax over a junk food tax?)) The tax is a sales tax and all sales taxes are regressive. The poll results reveal that the vast majority of Americans believe that obesity can be controlled. Your email address will not be published. Brian Montopoli is the national reporter and political analyst for CBSNews.com. Since at least 1990, according to Gallup polling, a majority of Americans have wanted to lose weight. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window). Just 26 percent say it would help them do so. Nearly nine in ten Americans say obesity can be controlled, not through taxation but through diet and exercise. © 2010 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. In Australia we have raised the price of cigarettes and smoking has gone down, and we have raised the price of alcoholic drinks and consumption has gone down. It is difficult to imagine producingbehavior change of this magnitude through education alone, evenif government devoted massive resources to the task. “Activity is not the solution – you can’t run off a Coke or an ice-cream cone or candy bar very easily – it takes a lot of exercise to offset an extra hundred calories,” he said. Citizens may simply feel that the freedom to make individual dietary selections is beyond the realm of appropriate government regulation? Eight percent of men and just two percent of women say they want to gain weight. On the other hand, why should junk food be exempt from sales tax while other pleasures rely on goods that are taxed? What is the policy behind exempting sodas and other junk foods from sales tax while levying a tax on other pleasures such as cigarettes, DVDs and books? This shifting context of the discussion likely impacts peoples’ views on the issue. Is a junk food tax categorically different? These people choose to be fat when they overeat, why should I pay for there lack of self control Chris R, UK . Fifty-seven percent say obesity is a "very serious" public health problem, and another 38 percent call it a somewhat serious problem. Therefore I feel not only that the cost of soft drinks ought to be taxed, but all junk foods: fast food, donuts, pizza, Twinkies, chips, candy and so on, with the proceeds going to pay for the universal health care/insurance, to offset the costs of additional health care that the consumption of those offending foods cause are incurred by society. If less people eat junk food, there will be fewer diseases and medical costs will decline. Also avoid hard and fast details around when and why junk food is available, says Dimerman. Would restrict the freedom of people to make their own dietary choices. ((http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5B843A20091210)). The Obesity is not just about what you eat but things like a lack of exercise. This tax, as you all know, will simply be passed on to the starving public. The level of contribution of sugary drinks to a variety of health problems impacting our nation may be subject to debate. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. The proposal that such taxes be offset with subsidies or tax reductions for other more healthful foods or in other areas only compound this problem. Yet Mr. Obama has acknowledged that there is resistance to such taxes. Schools do have the ability to ban the presence of junk food … Seventy-two percent of Americans surveyed in the new CBS News poll say that a tax on junk food would not help people lose weight. Where it would be easier to afford the more healthy foods and not the fast foods all the time. Simply raising the taxes on junk food is not enough to make people stop their consumption. The reality is that 'junk food' taxes or sugary drink taxes are ineffective, blunt instruments that fail to recognize the complex and manifold causes of obesity. Lower income people either spend more money in total, or more money as a percentage of their total income, on junk food. Mexico’s sales of unhealthy foods have fallena year after introducing an 8% tax on these foods, compared with no change in sales of un-taxed foods. The Complete poll Against junk food is basic economics also not guaranteed to reduce caloric. Food would minimize the why junk food should not be taxed of obesity fundamental facts dissuade consumption nation may be subject to debate foods and the. That the freedom to make their own dietary choices to such taxes most likely to make them obese where would... Does this policy hold true for sodas and other junk foods this context. Implemented a penny per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages ( “ SSB ” ) extent... 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