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  #1   ^
Old Thu, Jul-04-19, 02:24
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Default Boris Johnson is wrong about sugar and sin taxes

Quote:
From The Times
London, UK
4 July, 2019

Boris Johnson is wrong about sugar and sin taxes

Jenni Russell

Britain’s shocking obesity rates won’t be reversed by politicians pandering to big food firms


What excellent timing. Just as Cancer Research UK announces that obesity now causes more cases of four common cancers than smoking, our likely next prime minister, Boris Johnson, launches a populist policy that would encourage us all to consume more sugar, not less. Under the guise of choice and cheapness, he’s keen to side with the food manufacturers’ lobby, letting businesses sell us ever greater quantities of the stuff that’s killing Britons and shortening the healthy part of our lives.

Britain’s obesity epidemic is going in only one direction: up. The latest figures are stunningly depressing. In the early 1990s, 15 per cent of adults were obese; now 29 per cent are. It is a reversal of what has happened with smoking. Over that time the proportion of smokers has almost halved, from 27 to 14 per cent.

Being overweight is now the leading cause of bowel, liver, ovarian and kidney cancers. Fatness is now the second biggest preventable cause of cancer and will overtake smoking as the leading cause in women in 2035. Yet most people have no idea that fat can lead to cancer, and last year when Cancer Research UK launched advertisements warning people about the link, they were attacked for fat-shaming. Critics prioritised protecting people’s feelings over telling them the truth about the damage being wreaked on their bodies.

The fact is that we, with our Stone Age muscle structures and frames, cannot cope with or resist an economy built around offering us endless treats and encouraging inactivity. Some individuals can and do, but statistics prove they are the exception. Tackling obesity has been a public policy priority for more than 25 years but whatever we’re doing with official advice, daily private decisions and scoldings about willpower, it’s not working.

Just look at the trend in children. In 1984 less than 10 per cent of five to ten-year-olds were overweight, and less than 2 per cent obese. From 1991 governments began to see obesity as a problem and set targets to reverse it, mostly by hope and exhortation. It has been a history of feeble initiatives and overall failure. Last October the latest official figures were released. The proportion of fat children has tripled in 35 years. More than a third of 11-year-olds are now overweight or obese. More than 4 per cent are severely so.

This is where free choice of the kind Johnson is promoting has brought us. To disaster. Obesity keeps being described as a ticking time bomb but with every year the bomb gets bigger. This rocketing rate of fatness in children means a rising rate in adults in the future. Overweight teenagers rarely reverse their weight gain. Studies suggest four out of five obese teens will remain obese as adults. They will lose 15 to 20 years of health in adult life. Soft drinks are their biggest source of sugar.

Johnson’s excuse for reviewing the current low tax on sugary drinks, cancelling a milkshake tax and looking again at “sin taxes” is that these hit the poor hardest. It’s a synthetic sympathy. It’s the excuse that was used by the tobacco lobby, whose products were killing the poorest, disproportionately smokers, at an even greater rate than the rich.

Just the same is true of obesity now. It’s the poorest whose health is most likely to be wrecked by it. The class difference in obesity has multiplied dramatically. Two decades ago a poor child was around 25 per cent more likely to be obese than a rich one. Now, by 11 they are three times as likely. “Let them eat sugar” isn’t a liberation, it’s a curse.

The Johnson team claim sugar taxes may be ineffective. On the contrary, last year The Lancet published reports, described as the biggest research project of its kind, using evidence from 13 countries to show that taxes on unhealthy behaviour, such as Mexico’s sugar levy, were likely to result in “major health gains”, especially for the lowest income groups.

The problem with our obesity strategies is not that they have interfered too much but that they have not done anything like enough. Governments have been timid, frightened by the powerful food lobbies, easily persuaded by the line Johnson parrots now, that the real problem is not what we eat but how much exercise we take. It’s why the official NHS advice on eating is, ludicrously, “don’t ban any foods from your weight loss plan”. It’s a line that lets businesses sell us whatever rubbish their scientists can create, from Pringles to Coke, and then blame us for not walking it off.

It is a lie. As the cardiologist Aseem Malhotra says, you can’t outrun a bad diet. The blood-sugar surges and clotted arteries caused by overloading our systems with junk food damage us at a cellular level. New studies of the microbiology of our intestines show how bad diets spawn destructive changes to our intestinal bacteria, driving food cravings and making it practically impossible for even enthusiastic dieters to lose weight.

What Britain desperately needs now is a government prepared to dive fearlessly into the latest research about bodies and activity, from the effectiveness of fasting, keto diets and individual metabolic responses to taxes and bans, and take radical action.


Instead we’re heading for one that’s only interested in pandering to Tory libertarians and big food firms. Profit over people, headlines over health. Already we spend more on treating obesity and diabetes than on the police, the fire service and the courts combined. The obesity explosion will damage us all.



https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/...taxes-2qtckzdlx



Quote:
From The Telegraph
London, UK
3 July, 2019

Boris Johnson aims to put end to the 'nanny state' and its 'sin taxes' on food

Boris Johnson will end the “continuing creep of the nanny state” if he becomes prime minister, starting with a review of so-called “sin taxes” on sugary, salty and fatty foods.

The former foreign secretary wants to reverse the interventionist policies pursued by Theresa May and David Cameron in favour of a more liberal agenda.

He believes that taxes on less healthy foods “clobber those who can least afford it” and should be halted unless there is clear evidence that they work.

The policy puts him at odds with Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary who is tipped to be Chancellor under Mr Johnson, who has asked chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies to look into taxes on pizza, cakes and other foods deemed to be unhealthy.

Mr Johnson is also likely to face a battle with Dame Sally if he gets into Downing Street, as she has described herself as the "chief nanny".

Last year the Government imposed a sugar tax on soft drinks which added 8p to fizzy drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml, but the drinks industry has always argued it will have no effect on public health. Mr Hancock has indicated he would be open to the idea of taxes on salty and fatty foods.

Mr Johnson has already taken aim at the Government’s proposal to extend the tax to milky drinks high in sugar - the so-called “milkshake tax” - but has gone further by saying he would halt the spread of all “sin taxes” and order a review of their effectiveness on improving public health.

He argues that people on low incomes lose a far higher proportion of their income to such taxes than people on higher incomes, and is a believer in personal responsibility rather than Government intervention.

Mr Johnson said: “It’s time to take a proper look at the continuing creep of the nanny state and the impact it has on hardworking families across Britain.

“The recent proposal for a tax on milkshakes seems to me to clobber those who can least afford it.

“If we want people to lose weight and live healthier lifestyles, we should encourage people to walk, cycle and generally do more exercise. Rather than just taxing people more, we should look at how effective the so-called ‘sin taxes’ really are, and if they actually change behaviour.”

He does not propose to make any changes to duty on alcohol or cigarettes.



https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politic...sin-taxes-food/
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  #2   ^
Old Thu, Jul-04-19, 04:29
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WereBear WereBear is online now
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Sugar is the new tobacco, I hear.
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  #3   ^
Old Thu, Jul-04-19, 09:42
CityGirl8 CityGirl8 is offline
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Default

I really disagree with "nanny" taxes like this. I'm okay with taxes on luxury items (like alcohol) and I'm okay with the high taxes on tobacco because the money is directed toward health care programs to pay for caring for people with all the diseases they got from smoking. But the sugar taxes don't do that--they're just solely there to tell people what to eat and drink.

If they were going to fund something that was better for people, like, I don't know, more protein and fewer carbs in school lunches, maybe I could deal with it, or even care for people with diabetes and kidney disease and educate people about reducing carbohydrates. There's a purpose and a sensible cause and effect. But at best they're going to "nutrition education" which just tells people to eat sugar in other forms these days. The suggestion that high fat foods are next on the tax list just shows that they don't understand why people shouldn't eat sugar and it's just random.
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  #4   ^
Old Thu, Jul-04-19, 12:06
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GRB5111 GRB5111 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CityGirl8
I really disagree with "nanny" taxes like this. I'm okay with taxes on luxury items (like alcohol) and I'm okay with the high taxes on tobacco because the money is directed toward health care programs to pay for caring for people with all the diseases they got from smoking. But the sugar taxes don't do that--they're just solely there to tell people what to eat and drink.

If they were going to fund something that was better for people, like, I don't know, more protein and fewer carbs in school lunches, maybe I could deal with it, or even care for people with diabetes and kidney disease and educate people about reducing carbohydrates. There's a purpose and a sensible cause and effect. But at best they're going to "nutrition education" which just tells people to eat sugar in other forms these days. The suggestion that high fat foods are next on the tax list just shows that they don't understand why people shouldn't eat sugar and it's just random.

Agree completely. Setting a precedent for taxing sugar, regardless of how unhealthy it is, means that anything is fair game. Given the vast knowledge that governments possess on nutrition , this practice will go sideways in no time.
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  #5   ^
Old Thu, Jul-04-19, 14:22
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Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is online now
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Default

Sad but true, taxation reduces use. Not that I like this tactic but it works. Its a back door tactic.

Talked to a friend that gets food stamps and the new program encourages purchasing $40 a month of fruits and vegies, and upon use that amount is replaced in the account. A reward for buying fresh fruits and vegies.

While there at friends I talked about DANDR. We conversed for ten, fifteen minutes. That is, three over weight adults discussing foods.

A week later they asked me about getting a copy of DANDR.

MAYBE we need to keep reaching out to people. Yes, most dont care. But what about the one or two exceptions. We dont know who that will be. In this case , success is family I know well. They are interested in change.

Grass roots have an effect different than government. Government uses a one size fits all method. Like making peduatrition guilt mothers into feeding low fat milk.

Last edited by Ms Arielle : Thu, Jul-04-19 at 14:29.
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  #6   ^
Old Fri, Jul-05-19, 07:17
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thud123 thud123 is offline
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Go Boris! "...Boris Johnson will end the “continuing creep of the nanny state” if he becomes prime minister, starting with a review of so-called “sin taxes” on sugary, salty and fatty foods."

No more sin tax on fatty foods!! Keto on.
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  #7   ^
Old Fri, Jul-05-19, 09:13
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teaser teaser is online now
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I think the nanny state has been fairly effective against tobacco. Also against things like cholera...

Not having a problem with the efforts against tobacco, I guess I get down to just what they should be bothering with. Sugar and fat are a bit different than tobacco, in that how we approach them has an effect on their health effects. In some dietary contexts, cutting fat probably does make things better--that is, there are lower fat diets that don't seem to cause harm in a not already compromised population. And of course populations where high fat doesn't seem to be a problem. So I'm against taxation not because I'm against taxation, but because there really isn't just one way to approach things. How about a second breakfast tax? Or a tax on any food eaten outside of an eight hour window?

And salt--I'd say salt from the shaker is probably mostly harmless. Salt in a snack food that's both fatty and carby and low in protein and maybe even sugary? Maybe not a good idea.

I tend to think the threat of taxation is almost as good as the taxation itself here--without anything really to back up the claim. At least it puts the idea that sugar should be approached with caution in people's minds.
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  #8   ^
Old Fri, Jul-05-19, 09:51
tess9132 tess9132 is offline
 
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Quote:
MAYBE we need to keep reaching out to people. Yes, most dont care. But what about the one or two exceptions. We dont know who that will be.
There's no maybe about it. Every time someone comments on my weight loss, I tell them it's all thanks to no grains, no sugar. Simple as that. Sometimes they want more info, sometimes they just leave my statement alone.

Every time someone complains about joint pain, knee pain, foot pain, etc. , I mention that low carb has worked wonders for my foot and joint pain. Sometimes they leave that alone, sometimes they want to know more...

My low carb evangelizing has had a ripple effect - my sister has lost weight and gotten off 3 meds. In turn, one of her friends has lost 30 menopause pounds and is feeling great!

Philadelphia has a soda tax. It was supposed to fund pre-k. Hah! Instead, the money goes down the government black hole and kills lots of jobs for city dwellers (particularly in the grocery and restaurant industries). Commercial properties that previously would have sold to restaurants or stores sit vacant. I'm no fan of taxes anyway, but Philadelphia's soda tax was an especially stupid one.
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Old Fri, Jul-05-19, 15:59
jschwab jschwab is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tess9132
Philadelphia has a soda tax. It was supposed to fund pre-k. Hah! Instead, the money goes down the government black hole and kills lots of jobs for city dwellers (particularly in the grocery and restaurant industries). Commercial properties that previously would have sold to restaurants or stores sit vacant. I'm no fan of taxes anyway, but Philadelphia's soda tax was an especially stupid one.


Totally disagree. The numbers are there - I used to work at a place that funded a new Pre-K program with soda tax money. Nothing is ever perfectly run but nowhere is sitting vacant because of the soda tax - commercial real estate is booming overall in the city. However they gripe, the businesses are doing fine. If their business model is dependent on primarily the revenue from selling sugar drinks, I am fine with them being forced to change their business model anyway. I mean, seriously, half the supermarkets just switched to selling booze. They will be fine.
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  #10   ^
Old Sat, Jul-06-19, 13:49
Grav Grav is offline
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I'm not particularly fond of the "nanny state" argument. It's just a blanket statement that can be applied to any law that someone might disagree with. Helmets for cyclists, seatbelts in cars, traffic lights at intersections, the drinking age, the voting age; would you argue that any of these laws are "nanny state"? Better to argue each issue on its own merits imo.

I've given my views on sugar tax in other threads already, but fwiw I'll say it again here: I'm not opposed to the concept, but there are other things I'd rather see done before it gets to that point. Get rid of farming subsidies that artificially promote the growth of grains, seed oils and the like. Ban loss-leading in supermarkets. Change the dietary guidelines. Better controls on drug and junk food advertising, and so on. All of these things can benefit the consumer without the need to directly raid their wallet, and with any luck, these sorts of measures may be enough to get the message through without the need for a tax at all in the end.
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  #11   ^
Old Sat, Jul-06-19, 16:50
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Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is online now
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Thanks tess. Lets keep keto rolling.

Talked to MIL, she us firmly in the low fat camp
. Shes happy with six pounds off since June 1st. Doesnt want to hear fat is good.
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Old Sun, Jul-07-19, 05:21
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WereBear WereBear is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms Arielle
Talked to MIL, she is firmly in the low fat camp
. Shes happy with six pounds off since June 1st. Doesnt want to hear fat is good.


When I compare my low fat experience (crazy levels of exercise, hunger an hour after eating, slooooooooow loss and then, within 6 weeks, NOTHING) with now, it's like one of those burgers that looks like a used steel wool pad compared with a delicious grass-fed burger
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Old Wed, Jul-10-19, 06:18
tess9132 tess9132 is offline
 
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Quote:
Nothing is ever perfectly run but nowhere is sitting vacant because of the soda tax - commercial real estate is booming overall in the city.
Maybe that's true in Center City. But restaurants in the Roxborough/Andorra section are sitting empty. Even ones with great locations and parking.

Quote:
However they gripe, the businesses are doing fine.
You're right that some grocery profits haven't suffered, but I know people who work for Acme and ShopRite who have had their hours cut drastically because foot traffic into the stores is waaaay down. Some employees who used to be able to walk to work now have to drive out to Bucks and Chester County Acmes so that they could continue getting enough hours for a liveable income. Turns out, you can run the Frosty Mug on two employees. It's beer and wine sales (also increased sales at suburban locations where there is no soda tax) keeping Acme's profits up, but lack of foot traffic into the store itself has cut way back the number of employees needed in those locations while the store is open.

Finally, I don't know if you've noticed the number of boarded up gas stations that used to rely on the soda sales. I don't know for a fact those are casualties of the soda tax but I have second hand info that at least one not far from me is.

Statistics can lie. Real life people have been badly hurt by the soda tax. I'm not trying to argue with you as you've stated very plainly that you don't care if businesses that relied on soda are suffering. That's a fair point of view. I just don't want the last impression of the Philadelphia soda tax on this thread to be that there was no collateral damage.
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Old Wed, Jul-10-19, 06:25
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WereBear WereBear is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grav
I'm not particularly fond of the "nanny state" argument. It's just a blanket statement that can be applied to any law that someone might disagree with. Helmets for cyclists, seatbelts in cars, traffic lights at intersections, the drinking age, the voting age; would you argue that any of these laws are "nanny state"? Better to argue each issue on its own merits imo.


I have come to regard all "nanny state" complaints as those of whiners who don't want to consider others, even themselves. You know what doctors call motorcyclists who ride without helmets? Organ donors. The basic toddler reflex of "No! You can't make me!" belongs with toddlers.

There wasn't any outcry at making our giant corporations in charge of everyone's food, was there? What could go wrong?

When the writing for tobacco appeared on the wall, what do you think all the cigarette companies did? They bought up giant manufactured food concerns like Nabisco which made COOKIES.

They moved from one addictive substance to another.

So expect to see the soda companies following suit.
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Old Wed, Jul-10-19, 07:12
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Calianna Calianna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tess9132
Maybe that's true in Center City. But restaurants in the Roxborough/Andorra section are sitting empty. Even ones with great locations and parking.

You're right that some grocery profits haven't suffered, but I know people who work for Acme and ShopRite who have had their hours cut drastically because foot traffic into the stores is waaaay down. Some employees who used to be able to walk to work now have to drive out to Bucks and Chester County Acmes so that they could continue getting enough hours for a liveable income. Turns out, you can run the Frosty Mug on two employees. It's beer and wine sales (also increased sales at suburban locations where there is no soda tax) keeping Acme's profits up, but lack of foot traffic into the store itself has cut way back the number of employees needed in those locations while the store is open.

Finally, I don't know if you've noticed the number of boarded up gas stations that used to rely on the soda sales. I don't know for a fact those are casualties of the soda tax but I have second hand info that at least one not far from me is.

Statistics can lie. Real life people have been badly hurt by the soda tax. I'm not trying to argue with you as you've stated very plainly that you don't care if businesses that relied on soda are suffering. That's a fair point of view. I just don't want the last impression of the Philadelphia soda tax on this thread to be that there was no collateral damage.



I don't live in NJ, but do work in a grocery store (in neighboring PA). The company I work for has always systematically cut hours, especially certain times of the year, when business is naturally a little slower. (It's all hands on deck on weekends, and during the run up to holidays though. During the HallowGivingMas season you could go from 12-18 hours/week to suddenly working 30-40+ hours, depending on the week of the year, and which dept you work in. If there's snow or a hurricane in the forecast, you can almost count on them begging you to come in for a few hours and help handle all the excess customers. Such is the nature of the grocery business.)



But I digress... Part of the generalized cut in hours is due to the fact that they're trying to shift as much business as possible to online ordering, offering discounts to customers who order online. At first you had to order online the day before, and set up a time to pick-up your order at one or two specific locations in the county the next day. Then they added the option of delivery service. Now, they have the option to pick up in as little as 4 hours, at any of our stores in the area. They do have employees going through the store, picking and packing the groceries for those orders, but since all those employees are already trained for other jobs in the store as well, if they don't happen to have any orders to fill, they're put on other jobs in the store until they're needed to fill orders placed by online customers. This of course saves labor hours as they shift people around to fill immediate needs, rather than paying more people dedicated to certain jobs for their entire shift, whether there's anything for them to do or not.

Half the registers in our store are dedicated self scan registers - why pay 10 cashiers when you can get away with paying one person to handle a 10 register self scan area? They recently converted 3 of the 10 regular registers to convertible self-scan/regular registers, so that's 3 more self scan registers (2/3 of the registers in the store). Sometimes they have a 2nd person to monitor those registers (1 person being paid to handle 3 registers, also saving labor hours), but not always, so sometimes the self scan attendant who is already handling 10 registers needs to run over and fix problems on those too. More labor hours saved.

They cut bagger hours by installing carousel bagging racks on some of the registers, so that the cashier could automatically bag everything as soon it's scanned, rather than needing a separate bagger standing at the end of the register to bag items. The limited number of baggers now spend most of their time retrieving carts from the parking lot.

They've even managed to cut janitor hours, by having a robot go around the store to check for any hazards that need to be cleaned up, rather than paying an employee to patrol the aisles for hazards. When the robot finds a hazard, it makes an announcement calling the janitor to clean up the hazard. This interrupts the janitor from emptying trash cans/cleaning restrooms/etc, but overall saves on labor hours. (I have no idea how much that stupid robot cost the company, but apparently The Powers That Be think it was worth it to save a few labor hours each day)



So yeah, I don't doubt that the soda tax in NJ is affecting employee hours due to reduced sales, but there are probably many other factors involved too. Retail sees certain costs as being somewhat uncontrollable (rent, repairs and upkeep, utilities, taxes, etc), but labor hours are a factor they can control to a certain extent, so they're doing everything they can to cut them as much as possible.
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