Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Chocolate tax cannot be an answer to obesity

There is a tax on alcohol. There is a tax on cigarettes. Now, a doctor is calling for a tax on chocolate. Alcohol, in excess, has detrimental effects on the liver, heart, and brain, just to mention a few, and costs a lot in terms of medical care to treat all the complications. The toxins in cigarettes affect the heart and lungs while another ingredient causes addiction. Again, the cost of medical care for patients who smoke is enormous. A certain Scottish doctor feels the same can be said for chocolate, as it is a highly addictive substance and its consumers can grow obese. As we have been hearing, obesity is on the rise worldwide and it adds to the burden of medical care.

But can it be fair to tax chocolate? As one opponent points out, “˜we already have to pay VAT on all our chocolate purchases.’ I don’t know if there is a difference between VAT and this new chocolate tax, but I would argue that it is unfair on chocolate. First of all, it would mean anything containing chocolate would be taxed. Yet, chocolate cannot be the culprit in all cases of obesity. In fact, many obese people are obese because they overindulge in fatty foods in general. On the other hand, many occasional eaters (or even some who might eat a bit every day) have no problems with obesity. What will this mean? Like alcohol and cigarettes, taxing will not deter lovers from buying chocolates. It will just mean they will spend more for something they want. They might choose to cut something else out.

If a chocolate tax passes, which I highly doubt, will another food item be under attack later? Eventually, all food will be blamed for obesity (after all, eating is a major culprit in this), so all food will be taxed. Is this really the answer to the obesity problem? I don’t think so. Of course, no one idea is probably going to tackle the whole issue, so you have to approach it from multiple angles. However, taxing does not appear to be a viable or realistic option.

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