LETTERS: If tobacco taxes work, why not tax foods that make us fat?

I fully concur with John Faulknor (“Tobacco taxes all about money, not improving health,” March 26, Page 6A) and the countless others who see a product that is once again being targeted for increased taxes as a means to curb use of that product while supposedly directing proceeds from the tax revenue toward prevention, cessation programs, lawsuits, etc.

Several financial penalties for tobacco use are already firmly in place (in addition to taxes), and one glaring example is the increase in health insurance premiums. Yet, there’s no indication that tax proceeds from tobacco have gone anywhere toward reducing those.

To remove this smokescreen, revenue should be raised in the name of “improving health” by installing what’s called the obesitax. This is a tax (or other form of revenue generation) based on body mass index that exceeds the FDA limits on a person’s age, height, gender, etc. This would spread the burden upon those who exhibit (and suffer) the consequences of the usage of unhealthy products (author included) and not by cherry-picking the products themselves for which to tax.

Obesity is now America’s No. 1 epidemic — much more so now than tobacco-related health issues. It’s about time the focus changes in that direction instead of the old, tired, obsolete notion of taxing tobacco, again.

— Don Hoppe Jr.