From Treat to Threat: Scottish Chocolate Tax Defeated

| By two votes, the British Medical Association (BMA) has rejected a motion calling for a sin tax on chocolate in the United Kingdom. Dr. David Walker, of Lanarkshire, Scotland, says the treat poses at least as much a threat to health as alcohol does in the U.K., and should be taxed accordingly. “Obesity is a mushrooming problem. We are heading the same way as the United States,” he told the BBC. “I see chocolate as a major player in this.”

But after this week’s vote, the chocolate tax looks about as unlikely as the sex tax we proposed a while back. Sweet. [%comments]

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  1. Fred T. says:

    If the goal is to curb obesity, shouldn’t the good doctor suggest a tax on all food items based on things like saturated and trans fat content and not singling out chocolate?

    After all, the taxes on alcohol apply to all alcohol, not just one in particular, like vodka.

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  2. Steven Surowiec says:

    This is no different then the US imposing bans on things like Trans Fat. In the long run it will do absolutely nothing to curb obesity. You want to stop obesity? Promote good health and and get all of Monsanto’s chemicals out of our food.

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  3. Matt says:

    The problem with all this is that the lipid hypotheis is not proven. It makes no sense to have a “fat tax” since in the absence of carbohydrate, fat cannot be readily stored. The latest studies are showing that Ancel Keys’ hypothesis was bunk.

    http://www.nmsociety.org/App_Themes/Images/AboutFat/The%20Questionable%20Role%20of%20Saturated.pdf

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  4. Jenn says:

    Speaking as a morbidly obese person, here’s what will help me get thinner:

    1. Make fruits and vegetable CHEAP – more incentive to buy. Making bad stuff more expensive doesn’t make it easier for me to afford the GOOD stuff… DUH.

    2. Health insurance should cover personal, regular counseling. Once a month for 15 mins with a dietician will go a long way and is way cheaper than diabetes management supplies.

    3. Health Insurance should also cover exercise options and we should be required to sign up for one to keep coverage. When I could no longer afford the YMCA, and despite having an exercise machine at home, 20 of the 33 lbs I’ve lost have crept back up on me. Again, seems cheaper to pay for this than to pay for long term disease management.

    If I had a problem with Alcohol, I’d get 30 days inpatient treatment, ongoing support, etc. Because my drug of choice is food, I’m told to “just eat less, move more”. Would you tell an alcoholic to “just drink less”? Get real.

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  5. Andrew says:

    Chocolate is known to have health benefits- this sounds like typical government project (just as ethanol gas) that sounds good in ideal but when thought through may even be harmful.

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  6. Nick Robinson says:

    BMA = Barely Matters Anyway

    I can’t speak for anyone else here in the UK other than me, but I don’t really think the opinion of the BMA matters very much. I feel that they are mostly known for NOT really acting in the interests of patients when doctors are found guilty of misconduct.

    And as other comments have pointed out the links are unproven, the parallels with other conditions and their treatments inconsistent and better alternative approaches already exist.

    And I can’t remember, does Freakonomics the book deal with the whole Scottish deep-fried Mars Bars myth thing?

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  7. Michael Story says:

    One of the more interesting ideas for healthcare policy in scotland is a proposed minimum price for alcoholic drinks. This would not be imposed by a tax, rather retailers would not be allowed by law to charge less than a certain amount per unit of alcohol. This would take the form of a government endorsed cartel with the aim of decreasing consumption of the cheapest alcohol by problem drinkers, of whom scotland has a great many, without resistance from the drinks, pub and restaurant trade, whose resistance has made tax increases difficult.

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  8. David Pearson says:

    Did I hear anyone say “fresh vegetables?”

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