Monday, October 24, 2011

Could I have diabetes with that please?

I found this article on another friend's FB this afternoon and just had to write a post about it.  It is basically about how states are trying to put a tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) and how the soda companies are fighting it. 

I am not sure how I feel about the tax idea.  One side of me says to tax the hell out of anything that is not good for us like cigarettes and soda.  If it becomes expensive enough, maybe people at risk (children, teens, those living at the poverty level) will end up choosing a more healthy (less expensive) beverage.  Over time, this could reduce the number of obese and diabetic people in this country.  It did work with cigarettes, and it could work with soda/gatorade etc. 

The other side of me says that the government shouldn't be telling me what to eat or not to eat via a tax.  That is a weak argument given all the benefits of less SSB consumption.  There would be money generated by the tax that could go towards programs for children, poor whoever.  Healthcare costs would go down as more Americans lose weight and less children become obese. 

I, too, probably wouldn't drink as much soda if it cost a lot more.  (Not that I drink that much, only 1 each day.  I guess that is a lot of wasted calories over time.)  Or at worst, I might have it as a treat once in awhile.  I definitely don't let my kids have soda and thankfully, many of the coaches of our sports teams are discouraging SSB on the sidelines and instead pushing water. 

How do you feel about a SSB tax?

Good-- let's force us to eat healthy?

Or bad--govenment stay out of my grocery shopping?


Unknown said...

I'm hesitant to make a choice. I want to say it's good, because most people are drinking themselves to a syrup-sweetened death, but I also agree the government should stay out of my diet. At the same time, we tax the hell out of cigarettes, right? I consider heart disease and obesity equally as unhealthy, so I suppose I'm for it!

Katie @ Will Race for Carbs said...

I am not sure taxing alone would help that much. I think along with taxing cigarettes there was an educational campaign that went with it. I think teaching kids the dangers of cigarettes in school and on tv helped to decrease smoking. Also limiting the advertising helped. I don't see America doing the same thing with SSB. I just don't think people understand the risks of consuming large quantities of SSB like they understand the risks of cigarettes. I think both are addictive and people will pay the higher price for them. But I don't really know and it is a very good question!

Christi said...

Wow, I had not heard about that. That is interesting. Personally, I don't think the government should be taxing food items and dictating what I should and shouldn't eat. That seems like too much government intrusion. But like you I can see the other side of the coin as well. I guess you could say I am undecided on this issue. Though, I agree with Katie there should be education involved with the campaign to make it more successufl.

Lisa said...

Oh c'mon government, you've GOT to have better things to focus on???

As a side note, today's news that soda drinkers and violent behavior are connected in some way?


Terzah said...

Hmmm, not sure how I feel about that. I tend to be libertarian, but it does bug me that junk food in general (think ramen noodles etc.) is so cheap. I *love* the cigarette tax.