The Center for Science in the Public Interest has dramatically ratcheted up its call for “city, state or federal taxes on soft drinks, and foods high in calories, fat or sugar.” In a high-profile article in February’s Public Health Reports, CSPI’s Michael Jacobson argues: “Legislatures have long levied taxes on products deemed to be unhealthful.” Along with food and drink, CSPI calls for “a 5% tax on new televisions and video equipment” and “a $65 tax on each new vehicle or an extra penny tax per gallon of gasoline” to fight obesity.
A recent study in the British Medical Journal calling for a 17.5% excise tax on high-calorie foods mimics the early work of Yale professor Kelly Brownell. This time, British researcher Tom Marshall made news claiming such a tax would avoid 900 to 1000 premature deaths per year. No proof, of course, but plenty of headlines.
Watch out, World! The environmental activist group Worldwatch Institute now recommends worldwide taxes on high calorie foods. They say their plan is “modeled on the successful campaign to discourage smoking.”