By: Amy Lutz
“A little is not a problem, but a lot kills— slowly,” claimed a recent opinion piece in the journal Nature. What could possibly be the harmful substance to which they are referring? Marijuana? Alcohol? Nope, sugar. According to recent studies the sweet granules that we bake into cookies and sprinkle over grapefruit might actually be more toxic than originally believed. Additionally, as obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease become more prominent, so does the amount of sugar in our diets. For an increasingly health-conscious populace, this is certainly of great concern.
To combat this rising health epidemic, many scientists and left-leaning politicians have suggested taxing sugar like we tax alcohol and tobacco. In other words, they’re advocating for a “sin tax.” A sin tax is “a state-sponsored tax that is added to products or services that are seen as vices, such as alcohol, tobacco and gambling.” This kind of taxation is designed to alter consumer buying habits. A tax on added sugars will directly increase the price of products containing sugar. Based on a simple supply and demand equation, if the price of sugary foods is higher, the demand for them will go down. Therefore, if fewer people buy sugar-laden goods, our nation’s collective health will improve, right? Philosophically speaking, it will take a lot more than higher taxes to lessen the toxic effects of sugar consumption.
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