3 min

Junk food needs sin-taxed and banned

(My July 2008 comment in a ToledoTalk.com thread about proposed junk food ban in California.)

Well, it's about time. We need sin taxes and bans on junk food just like tobacco. Naturally, someone will argue that "A person gulping down a Big Mac does not bother me." But that's the narrow-minded view on the subject. Problem is, those with a poor diet are more likely to get sick and go to the doctor more often, which affects health care costs for all.

An old Toledo Talk posting from January 2004 titled Taxpayers paying for obesity-related ills :

Taxpayers foot the doctor's bill for more than half of obesity-related medical costs, which reached a total of $75 billion in 2003, according to a new study. The public pays about $39 billion a year - or about $175 per person - for obesity through Medicare and Medicaid programs, which cover sicknesses caused by obesity including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, several types of cancer and gallbladder disease. About 64 percent of adults in the United States are either overweight or obese.

How much does it cost each of us five years later?

If you're drinking wheatgrass shots and eating soy crumbles, and a team of scientists have considered you to be the healthiest person in the world, you're still hurt in the wallet by those who choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle by consuming junk food.

January 2004 news story :

Over the last two decades, the prevalence of obesity among adults in the United States has more than doubled. It is now the second-leading cause of preventable death in the United States after smoking and experts say it will soon surpass health hazards caused by puffing on butts. Experts say obesity causes an increase risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, cancer and other health hazards. "Obesity is killing 300 thousand people a year, so that's an epidemic, its a serious problem," said Dr. Richard Atkinson, president of the American Obesity Association.

Since I'm inspired by the anti-tobacco crowd's concern for our well-being, I propose banning the sale of all junk food in gas stations, convenience stores, vending machines, sports venues, bars, restaurants, etc. Apply fat taxes to Big Fast Food, and give the money to the public school system or the arts. If we're truly concerned about the public's health, then the same mentality applied to tobacco and smoking needs to be applied to junk food. After all, more people consume junk food than smoke.

Ah, but that's why we won't have junk food bans and fat taxes because the majority of the population consumes junk food, and they would vote against bans and taxes if they were a ballot issue. Since only 10 to 30 percent of the public smokes, that's an easy minority to trample. But I would guess that more than 50 percent of the public consumes junk food (whatever that is) more than once a week.

The hypocrisy of health concerns: ban and tax those things I dislike, but leave my favorites alone.

Some old Toledo Talk threads related to the subject :

#food - #health - #politics - #moronism

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