The Tyranny of the Food Police

04.04.10 | Dr. Stephen Coleman | Comments[2]

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There is more and more talk in the Empire and Keystone States about instituting a tax on soft drinks with sugar in order to fight obesity. For example, New York Governor David Paterson would like to see a steep tax on sugared soft drinks…although most members of the New York State Senate and Assembly are against his proposal.

Proponents of a soda tax say that a tax on soda -- especially one with teeth -- would result in the reduced consumption of soft drinks with sugar. The reduced consumption of sugar would then have many benefits such as thinner people and more people with teeth. Now I understand the reasoning behind taxing soft drinks, considering the problem of childhood obesity and the like.

That said, I can’t go along with a soft drink tax. I have trouble with the government -- a.k.a. big brother -- acting as the food police. If soda is taxed, what will be next? Devil Dogs, Milk Duds, Twinkies, Ring Dings, Tootsie Rolls, Oreo Cookies, and ice cream? Furthermore, if foods containing sugar can be taxed, will other foods be next such as fried chicken, hot dogs, pizza, and potato chips?

I say down with the tyranny of the food police. Instead, let’s educate people to make the right dietary choices. Let’s encourage kids to get some exercise on a regular basis and refrain from sitting in front of a computer screen day in and day out. Well…at this point I’m hungry and I want a piece of chocolate cake.

I want to thank all of you for sending me your comments. You can comment below, or send me an email.

cc-wetm - tv- Dr. Coleman also airs commentaries and a public affairs program on WETM 18 Elmira. For more information on these programs, go to


Your Comments(please keep them on topic and polite)

on 08.10.10 Kathy Rowe commented

No. I do not think soda should be taxed. We have enough taxes in New York to give a normal person a migraine headache.
Do not mess with my food. I generally eat healthy and exercise. Occasionally I do indulge in junk food and soda. I believe everything in moderation.
If people do not take care of themselves that is there problem and the price they will pay is bad health.

on 01.12.12 Ken commented

Sure, one more tax is good for us in a time when the economy is in the toilet