Should we tax junk food to control obesity?

junk food
junk food

Americans are getting fatter and some legislators are looking to tax junk food to control obesity. Based on the history of how heavily taxing cigarettes changed personal behavior, extra taxes on soda may stop people from sugaring themselves to death.

When I started to smoke, at age 13, cigarettes cost $ .30 per pack. Around that time, almost 3/4 of American males smoked. After the Surgeon General's report came out in 1964 identifying the health risks of smoking, there were media campaigns, restrictions on cigarette advertising and other efforts to get people to quit. But the only intervention that really was effective for people to kick the habit was hitting them in the pocketbook with additional taxes. Each time the tax on cigarettes increased, more people quit. Currently, 21% of American adults smoke as the cost of a pack of cigarettes hovers around six dollars.