Ask the Doctor
August 30, 2011
Should soda drinks be taxed more than tobacco?

Dear Doc,

I don’t think that it is ethical that the Cancer Society is asking for increased taxes on tobacco products, claiming that it increases the burden on the health budget.{{more}}

Diabetes affects more people and has a more significant cost on the health care budget. I think sweet drinks should be taxed more to make it even. What does the Cancer Society have to say about that?


Dear Carl,

The Cancer Society says: “We support that view too but!!!!!”

It is true that sweet-drinks do not help in the fight against obesity and diabetes. We are aware of the relationship between high calories and obesity. Diabetes takes a big chunk out of the health budget of our society, but there is much more to diabetes than sweet drinks. There are a significant number of high calorie foods that induce diabetes and obesity. It means, therefore, it will also be unethical to blame sweet drinks only.

The case for tobacco products is like chalk and cheese. The Cancer Society is well supported by an established fact that smoking induces lung cancer. Marijuana smoking is already illegal and we endorse increased taxes on tobacco products as the first step to deter and provide increased income that can assist the health budget.

If someone never inhales cigarette smoke, that person’s chances of developing lung cancer would be significantly reduced, whereas if someone were to never consume sweet drinks and continue other high calorie meals, the risks of developing diabetes would not drop significantly.

The Cancer Society supports healthy living. Members of the Society are from the community and support other organizations in their pursuit of health promotion. We welcome you to join us.