An August 23, 2009 LA Times article is an interesting read on the push to tax junk food. Apparently what really helped people give up smoking was to tax tobacco product so much that smokers started to finally just give it up in increasing numbers; and the increased taxes are supposed to go towards health care system costs. I don't like to advocate increased taxes, but this is one type of tax that may help, especially if the taxes do actually go directly to funding the health care system. The article raises various issues in implementing such a tax regime. Some key quotes from the article:

"With increasing vigor, public health experts and think tanks are calling for extra taxes on foods and drinks that are heavy in calories and light on nutrition. New York Gov. David Paterson proposed an 18% soda tax last year as a budget-balancing measure, only to abandon it three months later in the face of stiff public opposition. Lawmakers in at least five other states have gone on the record in support of the idea.

"Junk-food taxes are often mentioned as a way to help fund a restructuring of the healthcare system, though no one in Congress has endorsed them.

"The notion is catching on with the general public, however. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll last month found that 55% of respondents favored a tax on unhealthful snack foods, up from 52% in April. Support for a soda tax rose to 53% from 46%.

"And 63% of those who opposed the idea said they would change their minds if the revenue were used to fund healthcare reform and combat health problems related to obesity."

To read the article: http://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-junk-food-tax23-2009aug23-story.html