Junk food tax idea gaining acceptance
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- The idea of taxes on "junk food" to help pay for the restructuring the U.S. healthcare system is gaining popularity, experts say.
Public health experts and lawmakers in six states have voiced support for slapping "sin taxes" on high-calorie foods and drinks, such as soda pop, that they blame for an epidemic of obesity and its soaring related healthcare costs, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
The general public also seems to be moving in the direction, the newspaper said, citing a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released in July indicating that 55 percent of respondents favored a tax on unhealthful snack foods, up from 52 percent in April.
The poll, meanwhile, found that support for a soda tax rose to 53 percent from 46 percent, the Times said.
The Urban Institute claimed in a report this summer that rising obesity rates could cause the American life expectancy to fall for the first time in history.
"This is the most ridiculous idea I've heard," Kellie Glass, a registered dietitian in Ashland, Ky., told the newspaper. "Folks are just not going to give up all the foods they love, even if they are more expensive."