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Maciamo
07-10-11, 10:45
TIME : Beating Butter: Denmark Imposes the World's First Fat Tax (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2096185,00.html)

The Danish government has decided to tackle obesity and cardiovascular diseases by imposing a new tax of 16 krone per kilo of saturated fat on all products containing more than 2.3% of it. This will especially affect the price of butter and its derived products.

The Time also mentions that "in 2004, Denmark became the first country in the world to ban transfats — the solid fats commonly used in snack foods and industrially produced baked goods."

I personally think that the initiative is laudable, but many Danes seem opposed to it. Would they prefer a new tax on healthy foods instead ?


EDIT : additional review of the fat tax by the New Scientist (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228356.600-worlds-first-fat-tax-what-will-it-achieve.html)


Taxes on cigarettes are set high enough to discourage use, especially among young people. But the food taxes are low, 0.34 kroner on a litre of soft drinks, for example. The "fat" tax is 16 kroner per kilogram of saturated fat. In dollars, the taxes will add 12 cents to a bag of crisps and 40 cents to the price of a burger. Whether these amounts will discourage purchases remains to be seen.

Other countries are playing "me too" or waiting to see the results of Denmark's experiment. Hungary has imposed a small tax on sweets, salty snacks, and sugary and caffeinated drinks and intends to use the revenues to offset healthcare costs. Romania and Iceland had such taxes but dropped them, whereas Finland and Ireland are considering them. Surprisingly, given his party's anti-nanny state platform, UK prime minister David Cameron is suggesting food taxes to counter the nation's burgeoning obesity crisis. The US has resisted calls for taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, not least because the soft drink companies spent millions of dollars on defeating such proposals.

Riccardo
07-10-11, 16:19
TIME : Beating Butter: Denmark Imposes the World's First Fat Tax (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2096185,00.html)

The Danish government has decided to tackle obesity and cardiovascular diseases by imposing a new tax of 16 krone per kilo of saturated fat on all products containing more than 2.3% of it. This will especially affect the price of butter and its derived products.

The Time also mentions that "in 2004, Denmark became the first country in the world to ban transfats — the solid fats commonly used in snack foods and industrially produced baked goods."

I personally think that the initiative is laudable, but many Danes seem opposed to it. Would they prefer a new tax on healthy foods instead ?

That's good! Unluckly there's not so much food culture all around the West World. There is a growing gap beetween obesity in rich countries and malnutrition in poor countries.

LeBrok
07-10-11, 18:46
We sort of new it was coming.

Ricardo, western world got fatter in last 30 years, but the third world doubled population in this time. If they didn't they would have more food to eat per person. Who would you blame that they have not much to eat anyway?

Riccardo
07-10-11, 19:45
We sort of new it was coming.

Ricardo, western world got fatter in last 30 years, but the third world doubled population in this time. If they didn't they would have more food to eat per person. Who would you blame that they have not much to eat anyway?

I don't understand what do you want to say with that...I don't think it's directly their fault if the population doubled, isn't it?

LeBrok
07-10-11, 20:28
Sorry, it was a little vague, I admit.


There is a growing gap beetween obesity in rich countries and malnutrition in poor countries.


Reading this I had a feeling that you are unhappy about this situation. I wanted also to inquire who you blame for this unfortunate situation of hunger in third world?

Now you said this:


I don't think it's directly their fault if the population doubled, isn't it?

What do you mean? Can you elaborate?

Wilhelm
07-10-11, 20:51
I always try to avoid any trans in the food that I buy, it's good that a country finally has banned it, it is well known the bad effects it has on health.

Cimmerianbloke
08-10-11, 05:36
I believe you're all mistaken. The main info in the sentence is not FAT but NEW TAX. Or how to take your money and tell you it's for your own good...

LeBrok
08-10-11, 06:29
lol, this is much "improved" and sophisticated Big Brother.

Maciamo
08-10-11, 09:00
I believe you're all mistaken. The main info in the sentence is not FAT but NEW TAX. Or how to take your money and tell you it's for your own good...

Governments need money anyway, especially very social-minded governments like in Scandinavia. I will always agree that it is better to tax anything that is bad for health or the environment than what is good. If they had to raise new taxes, they might as well do it intelligently.

ultralars
08-10-11, 15:34
Putting a tax of saturated fat isn't really going to change much as there really isn't any strong science actually saying that it's bad for you.

Also, if you had bought it for years, would you stop just because of that tax?

But then again, they tax everything here in Scandinavia even the amount of horse power in your car gets it's own tax.

Maciamo
08-10-11, 15:44
But then again, they tax everything here in Scandinavia even the amount of horse power in your car gets it's own tax.

I believe that horse power determines how much a car is taxed in most developed countries.

What sets Scandinavia apart is its very high tax on alcohol (and tobacco, although other European countries are catching up).

Cimmerianbloke
08-10-11, 23:47
Tobacco, alcool and fuel are the main sources of VAT revenue across Europe. In Ireland, your car is taxed depending on engine size (a 2.0 diesel being taxed the same as a much more powerful 2.0 petrol). Taxing junk food doesn't make sense as VAT across Europe is lower for "harmful" take-away Mc D type food than a classic restaurant. I read something particularly insightful in this week's Economist: "Why is it called class warfare to advocate raising taxes on the rich, but not when it comes to cutting benefits to the poor?"
Anyway, all these mesures only reinforce trans-border traffics and shopping holidays. I realize everybody here in Berlin seems to smoke polish cigarettes...

Cambrius (The Red)
09-10-11, 05:28
It makes some sense since obese people tend to experience more health problems and their medical care costs, on average, are higher compared to people who maintain a reasonable weight.

LeBrok
09-10-11, 06:07
So what's after fat tax? Sugar tax in 5 years?

Maciamo
09-10-11, 09:19
So what's after fat tax? Sugar tax in 5 years?

If that means cutting taxes on other food products, why not ?

edao
09-10-11, 12:32
This tax is only addressing one problem which is diet. You are still likely to have various health problems if you are not exercising.

So are we to tax people who walk too slowly, tax people who drive cars and take buses, offer tax breaks to cyclists. No because that would just be silly:grin:.

If anywhere needs an unhealthy diet looked at it's good old Scotland, have a look at what people regularly have for breakfast:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sliced_sausage
"a favourite in Scottish cooked breakfasts and is often eaten in a bread roll"

Now let me make this clear that is a burger in a roll for breakfast!

A mans life expectancy in Glasgow is 54 (http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2008/08/29/men-in-glasgow-s-east-end-have-life-expectancy-of-54-86908-20715552/)

I know for a fact that tax would make no difference and people would still eat it because it's a cultural thing, if you want to change eating habits you need to change the culture. Look at how expensive smoking is and how shunned it is yet people are still buying the dam things.

ultralars
09-10-11, 13:47
I believe that horse power determines how much a car is taxed in most developed countries.

What sets Scandinavia apart is its very high tax on alcohol (and tobacco, although other European countries are catching up).


oh sorry :P hehe didn't know that, it's just something i heard from a friend the other day.

LeBrok
09-10-11, 18:55
I can agree with Maciamo that taxing unhealthy things (at least considered such) would have some positive effect. I would also mandate that these taxes go directly to medical system.
I'm also agreeing with Edao that at some point all the process of taxing everything and everywhere, at different levels, might be too complicated and get out of hand, without much benefit.

I think that the biggest problem related to diet (except that we eat too much) is that organic, good natural food, is more expensive than processed low quality one. This is what most obese people eat, and they greatly belong to lower or lower med class.
We would need to tax processed food high enough to make it more expensive than organic. This would change people's diet and benefited us all.
The biggest change should come in next decades when we finely invent good slim pill, and possibly a pill that make your muscles grow without exercising, like a hibernating bear, lol. Can't wait.

Cimmerianbloke
10-10-11, 03:18
I do not think eating processed or overpriced "healthy" food makes a big difference to how obesity is crawling in western countries. The real problem is lack of physical exercise and educating the masses. Taxing tobacco and alcool taxes did not solve the problems they created. Just have a look at any A&E department on a friday night, no need to come up with statistics. On another hand, I have a strong tendency to rebel against that kind of laws and savage taxing. If the government wants to control what we eat, where does it end? I think they should instead concentrate on the millions leaked every month in social support. Kicking the people up the arse is a sure way to get them to move and start looking for a job.
LeBrok, I know some women who eat the good healthy food you seem to advocate and are still fat. The solution you propose is discriminating against poor people, who would see their food bill skyrocket. As a child, all the stuff we bought at home was organic but that was before it became a trend and the organic tag increased the prices. We also had no melons in december, no strawberries in winter and I was 12 when I saw my first kiwi fruit...

Cimmerianbloke
10-10-11, 03:20
It makes some sense since obese people tend to experience more health problems and their medical care costs, on average, are higher compared to people who maintain a reasonable weight.

Then tax obese people, not the food they eat...

LeBrok
10-10-11, 08:02
I do not think eating processed or overpriced "healthy" food makes a big difference to how obesity is crawling in western countries. The real problem is lack of physical exercise and educating the masses.
....LeBrok, I know some women who eat the good healthy food you seem to advocate and are still fat.

Yes, I agree, the biggest problem is how much we eat and not what we eat, though the later is important too, more for skinny types. To do a dent in obesity and health problem, in this case it is easier to implement regulation and force producers not to produce junk food, then force people to eat less. To eat less one has to go against human nature, your genes and your instincts, and this is as difficult as it gets. Exercise? There is only small percentage of people that like exercising. For the rest of us it's suffering, suffering and pain. Again, we are going against human nature. These are the reason, that all the invented so far diets, fail.
That's why I would go with government regulation at first, to at least make obesity problem milder. For the real solution we have to wait for technology to give us the slim pills. In couple of hundreds of years parents will go to the hospital and make doctors to knock off the fat genes from their kids. That's the final solution.




Taxing tobacco and alcool taxes did not solve the problems they created. Just have a look at any A&E department on a friday night, no need to come up with statistics.

I don't agree, even without going into statistics, I can say that people smoke much less than they used to a generation, not mentioning two, ago. I'm not sure how much taxes did in this regard, probably not much, but awareness of negative health impact and the public pressure, did a good trick. The next step should be to force cigarette manufacturers to make cigarettes without nicotine. It would cut smokers by half in 10 years.




On another hand, I have a strong tendency to rebel against that kind of laws and savage taxing. If the government wants to control what we eat, where does it end?

I'm the same. But taxes are needed to run a country. As Maciamo said, if we need to tax, let's tax the bad things higher than good ones.





I think they should instead concentrate on the millions leaked every month in social support. Kicking the people up the arse is a sure way to get them to move and start looking for a job.

I'm for it. Too extensive social net produces many lazy people. I know, it's a hard balance between helping needy and not making them lazy. Obviously we are failing in this regard.



LeBrok, I know some women who eat the good healthy food you seem to advocate and are still fat. The solution you propose is discriminating against poor people, who would see their food bill skyrocket. As a child, all the stuff we bought at home was organic but that was before it became a trend and the organic tag increased the prices. We also had no melons in december, no strawberries in winter and I was 12 when I saw my first kiwi fruit...

Yes, that's a conundrum. Poor people would definitely had less money to by food. However they are the ones that do most harm to their bodies overeating. At the end it would be beneficial for them if they ate less and better quality food. Also they are the onces that would benefit from government regulations the most. Obviously they can't make healthy choices for themselves. All generally and statistically speaking, of course.
How far we went in our civilization and social virtue, when poor people are the fattest of all in western world? It's used to be reversed in not so distant past, lol.

I came to Canada in age of 22. Till then I only ate organic food in Poland, for lack of other food. Similar situation to yours. From day one in Canada I couldn't believe how shitty the food was. White, tasteless toast bread; hydroponic vegetables tasting like water, with uneatable tomato topping the list; tasteless meat from animals fed only with corn; egg yolk very pail with foul smell. Not sure how I survived this, hehe, but fortunately food improved quite a bit. I like this trend very much.

Not sure who to blame for this tasteless food? 60-ties and 70-ties are to blame, with big families caring more about quantity then quality of food, even though from fiscal necessity. Overwhelmingly English culture is to blame in America too. We know how good and tasty English cousin is. :grin:

Maciamo
10-10-11, 08:40
I do not think eating processed or overpriced "healthy" food makes a big difference to how obesity is crawling in western countries. The real problem is lack of physical exercise and educating the masses.

I am convinced that the two biggest risk factors for obesity are neither exercise (or lack thereof) nor the amount or quality of food ingested, but the diversity of one's diet (avoid eating the same thing often) and genetics (predisposition to obesity).

I admit that I exercise little these days. I spent far too much time in front of my PC or watching TV when I need to relax. I have always eaten a lot. I can eat as much as I want, indulge in chocolate and ice cream, put two sugars in my tea or coffee, and still I never put on any weight. Changing country and diet has no influence at all (and I have lived in many different countries). Actually, my weight varies with the seasons. Compared to the mid-seasons (spring, autumn), I gain one or two kilos every winter, lose them in spring, and lose an extra one or two kilos in summer. It has been like this for all my adult life. My BMI has always been in the normal, close to underweight range. The only effect that doing regular exercise has on me is that it increases my libido. lol

Segia2
10-10-11, 11:08
Nanny State at its best. Politicians are far worse than fat for health.

how yes no 2
31-12-11, 00:54
hm, I know it cannot be done in democracy, but maybe there should be tax on overweight people.... might improve average health of nations and reduce medical costs...

Brett142
17-03-12, 16:52
I find this idea of a 'fat tax' absolutely insane! Just because some idiots out there who eat themselves until they're 300 pounds in weight, doesn't mean everyone else should suffer. What about the people who eat healthily all week then want to have say a cake on the weekend - why should they be taxed more?

What it bares down to is the fact that in countries like Denmark, where they insist on having a ridiculously generous welfare system, fat people put a strain on the National Health Service at the cost of the hard working tax payer. What SHOULD happen, is that everyone should be made to go for yearly health check ups. Obese people should then be warned and given a time frame in which to lose weight, after which time, if they have not lost the weight, then they should be expected to pay for their own health care should they fall ill because of their obesity. I don't see how it's fair that hard working people should bare the cost for idiotic people who are slowly killing themselves and KNOW that they are slowly killing themselves.

Don't punish EVERYONE with a fat tax, punish the FAT PEOPLE who know better!

Cimmerianbloke
18-03-12, 00:02
In the name of fairness, I think you are right, even though it might be politically incorrect, under the solidarity auspices, to ostracize and target a certain group in the population. That is the typical argument you will hear from well-meaning idiots that will pay people to stay home and do nothing, eat themselves to death, have 15 children to pile up benefits, all with the taxpayer's money. On a personal level, I believe you are 100% right, and I would force these people to join a sports club and do exercise regularly or lose their medical cover.

Abyss_Rover
26-05-12, 14:18
In the name of fairness, I think you are right, even though it might be politically incorrect, under the solidarity auspices, to ostracize and target a certain group in the population.

Europe did, with smokers.