Will You Pay a Sin Tax? Should Any of Us?
If you're a regular reader, you know that I'm all about keeping it real. Real food that is. I don't endorse fast food and I whole-heartedly believe that if you don't recognize an ingredient, it doesn't belong in your food. That said, I'm not a food cop. I bite my tongue when my hubby puts a 2-liter bottle of soda in our grocery cart or orders a bacon cheeseburger – with fries.
At the end of the day, I realize that everyone on the planet isn't as passionate about nutrition as I am. My hubby has lost over 50 pounds since we met but he's no health nut and in my experience, forcing someone to make changes before they're ready always backfires.
I see my primary job as helping people who are willing better understand nutrition and move towards a healthier way of eating, not to coerce people into compliance. But just may be what the government has in mind.
Lately there have been rumblings about adding a "sin tax" to less than healthy foods like soda, chips and candy. Proponents argue that this strategy worked with cigarettes and the money generated could be used to fight the obesity epidemic. Detractors say it's short-sighted and may do more harm than good.
In my opinion, being charged an extra $0.50 or even $1.00 for a bag of chips won't deter most people if they're eating emotionally or if it's what they really want. And punitive measures like this often turn people off to eating healthfully (kinda like the super mean gym teacher I had in grade school who snubbed out my budding enthusiasm for gymnastics).
I'd prefer to see people rewarded for healthy behaviors rather than being punished for not so healthy ones, and I believe that making healthier options more affordable and readily available is the real key to transforming food choices. But what do you think?
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 55% of those surveyed favored a tax on unhealthy snacks, up from 52% earlier this year. Support for a tax on soda also rose - from 46 to 53%. And over 60% of those who opposed the idea said they would change their minds if the proceeds were directed toward healthcare reform and obesity interventions.
Food for thought:
If you were craving something sweet, would you choose an apple over a cupcake if it was $0.50 cheaper? What about a $0.50 square of dark chocolate over a $1.00 cupcake?
What less than healthy foods would you stop buying (if any) if they cost 10% more? What about 50% more?
What less than healthy foods will you continue to buy regardless of the cost?