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Is Soda Worse than Cigarettes?


Okay, okay, I'll admit it. Soda pop is definitely not the healthiest beverage one can imbibe. Various studies have linked the unfettered guzzling of the fizzy stuff to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s. (Sodium benzoate, a preservative found in most mainstream sodas, reportedly switches of important parts of DNA’s functioning parts and leads to a cornucopia or problems – ones generally associated with old age and/or alcoholism).

Last year, the fat, gassy cats of the soda world successfully squashed a federal tax on soft drinks, but various state legislators are moving toward taxing liquid candy, in a bid to balance their budgets and their constituents’ scales in the process.

California is the latest state to belly up to the soda fountain, with lawmakers touting another recent study linking soft drink consumption to obesity in children and adults – the current bugaboo of the health system, said to cost California $41 billion alone in medical expenses and work productivity issues.

Twelve other states have floated proposals and Colorado recently passed a bill; the city of Chicago already taxes soda and New York City may be headed down the same path.

The approach some are advocating to force the country to curb our consumption of the bubbling syrup is almost identical to the one taken to get America to kick the cigarette habit: by taxing consumers, putting warning labels on soda and launching major marketing campaigns to stymie consumption.

Big Soda is responding in kind, acting like tobacco companies of yore by claiming their products are healthy or at least not harmful, spending millions on lobbying efforts to prevent change and of course, marketing heavily to kids.

But how bad is soda exactly? It may be as habit forming as coffee (caffeine has been shown to be addictive, ditto sugar), but it certainly isn’t as malevolently addictive as cigs. And in moderation, soda really isn’t any worse than much of the other junk that we consume on an occasional basis – junk that certainly isn’t facing the same battalion of draconian taxes and fees.

On the other hand, it seems that we are a nation incapable of moderation. On average, we consume 50 gallons of soda a year – in fact, sugared beverages are America’s top source of calories. Hard to believe, but true. We guzzle 7% of our caloric intake in the form of soda and other sweet drinks – talk about empty calories.

If we did institute a soda tax, $0.03 per 12-ounces of soda, we would garner $51.6 billion a year.

I'm on the fence: is soda bad enough for our health to constitute such wide-ranging taxes, and if so: should we also be taxing fast food, potato chips, candy bars, chocolate? Where would we even begin to stop a fiscally based battle of the bulge? I'd love to hear your thoughts, below.
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  • garyt212 2010/02/25 06:34:16
    garyt212
    +4
    Yeah, my Grandmother is 91, has smoked 2 packs of cigs everyday for 74 years, drinks 3 or 4 scotches a day too, still kicking but Big Brother has told us it's bad for us and we are all brainwashed so they put a ridiculous tax on it! Big Brother would tax their mothers dentures if they could. Get used to it sheeples...soda, twinkies, lattes, ice cream, cake, pies, coffee, etc all bad for you...Big Brother will tax it all and then some!

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  • midwest gal 2010/03/04 05:10:23
    midwest gal
    The serfs in the kingdom of the Lord of the USSA will need to pay taxes so that the Lord of the Empire can smoke without taxes (a government benefit), eat whatever is causing his cholesterol to rise (another government benefit) and continue to drink alcohol (another government benefit) to his heart's content with all the Lords and Ladies of the Empire. The taxes will be rise with each quarter until the USSA companies no longer can afford to bottle the evil stuff because the serfs will have to switch to pond water colored with vanilla to avoid the taxes. Then the businesses can flee or be sold to Africa, Venezuela, Cuba and Iran the favorites of the Lord. We serfs really aren't educated enough to know the evil of sodas, good fatty food and tobacco smoke so the Lord of the Empire must pass an Act of Congress to tell us poor folks what isn't good for us. But first, he will demand that the Lord will file lawsuits on our behalf against all these companies, class action, so the unionized lawyers will reap the benefits from those the serfs blamed for their bad teeth, ADHD, anxiety, weight gain and osteoporosis, yellow teeth, bad breath, bad smelling clothes, loss of weight, relaxation, COPD, falling asleep while driving with a blood alcohol higher than it should be, you know you g...
    The serfs in the kingdom of the Lord of the USSA will need to pay taxes so that the Lord of the Empire can smoke without taxes (a government benefit), eat whatever is causing his cholesterol to rise (another government benefit) and continue to drink alcohol (another government benefit) to his heart's content with all the Lords and Ladies of the Empire. The taxes will be rise with each quarter until the USSA companies no longer can afford to bottle the evil stuff because the serfs will have to switch to pond water colored with vanilla to avoid the taxes. Then the businesses can flee or be sold to Africa, Venezuela, Cuba and Iran the favorites of the Lord. We serfs really aren't educated enough to know the evil of sodas, good fatty food and tobacco smoke so the Lord of the Empire must pass an Act of Congress to tell us poor folks what isn't good for us. But first, he will demand that the Lord will file lawsuits on our behalf against all these companies, class action, so the unionized lawyers will reap the benefits from those the serfs blamed for their bad teeth, ADHD, anxiety, weight gain and osteoporosis, yellow teeth, bad breath, bad smelling clothes, loss of weight, relaxation, COPD, falling asleep while driving with a blood alcohol higher than it should be, you know you get the picture. After the lawsuits companies would be no longer in business, so they would sell to Africa, Venezuela, Cuba, China and Iran the favorites of the Lord. Finally, what little is left of our businesses and manufacturers, will not be able to compete with the other countries who now own all of our manufacturing companies so we will have to buy from them at a higher price for soda that might have toxins from China, cigarettes wtih chemicals from Iran and China, good fat potato chips and cakes from Africa that have been produced in the back country with water from what is left in the wadi and fried in Rhino fat and will become a luxury. In the meantime the country is crumbling, we will have no moneys to buy those great products, and the economy will collapse....all because the Lord of the Empire has determined the USSA should go broke because we have been bad to other countries and this is the way to really mean the apologies to the other countries for all the bad things the USSA did when it was the USA. Once the countries the Lord of the Empire chooses to form a bloc with, then the serfdom community will be utterly defenseless and penniless because of all of the above. Then the Lord and Chavez of the Americas bloc will nationalize the entire hemisphere of the Americas. By then we will be complete subjects of the Lord and would be happy for 40 acres and a mule. The Lord will then take half of our crops of tobacco and sugar in order to keep his taxes low by not having to import at least two products from his friends. This ends this chapter of the serfs and the Lord of the Empire of the USSA. So, I say if you want to smoke, chew, eat fat why not? Right now we have a choice. I guess after taxing the good stuff he will start taxing lipstick and mascara because they are carcinogens. That is a story for a nother day. Let's hope the tax law won't be applied to deodrant since it has so many bad things in it. Heck, why not go back to the 1600s when we didn't have these things to worry about being taxed, then we could get rid of computers and all the other modern things and we could be like all the other contries the Lord of the Empire wants us to be like anyway.
    (more)
  • midwest gal 2010/03/04 04:44:59
    midwest gal
    Join the discussion! Leave a comment.
  • midwest gal 2010/03/04 04:44:25
    midwest gal
    Join the discussion! Leave a comment.
  • bobo 2010/03/03 18:46:33
    bobo
    Yes I'm a pop drinker nothing beats a pop thirst I love pepsi its part of me . Plus pop doesn't give you lung cancer its good enough if you eat healty and drink a lot of water. Plus I'm a smoker and I love it you live once so enjoy while it last lol
  • coky 2010/03/03 01:45:40
    coky
    Smoking is sooooo much worse, end of discussion.!
  • Zaibats... coky 2010/12/07 15:56:44
  • benny 2010/03/02 02:55:57
    benny
    to hell with taxes !!!! educate people with facts and they will make their own decisions....the government has no business in this arena..Pop is not good for you---period.Tax will not improve it !!!!
  • bob 2010/03/01 14:43:10
    bob
    What the hell is wrong with people not being able to look at themselfs and instead run around blaming everything under the sun.
    If one day wake up and say to your self "Im fat" or " im unhealthy" the only person to blame is YOU noone or nothing else.

    If you too FAT or unhealthy to move around its not the soda or the siggarets or the chocolate or anything elses fault its YOUR FAULT for not being able to control yourself.
  • Capitalism4life 2010/02/28 18:25:29
    Capitalism4life
    just curious and i know i will catch a lot of crap for this, but why are the soda CEOs fat greasy cats? I am by no means wealthy but I also don't put down people who have made their millions in a capitalistic manner. I am sure though that if I were to make millions off marketing ciggarets or something unhealthy people would bash me too...I guess that's life and people have the right to be jealous if they want to...
  • sexiigirl 1 on 1 2010/02/25 23:14:08
    sexiigirl 1 on 1
    haha very funny haha funny
  • AnubisWisdom 2010/02/25 23:11:36
    AnubisWisdom
    +3
    Its all medication for mentally ill people. The thing about it, people don't no it. Fast food, pork, pig, potato chips, candy bars, chocolate, pop, soda, cigarettes, cig's tobacco, alcohol. Its all suicide.
  • animelover_in_God_I_trust 2010/02/25 19:29:40
    animelover_in_God_I_trust
    +1
    ok soda pop is not heathly but I have at least four pops and my doctor loves how healthy I am.
  • Anemone 2010/02/25 19:17:04
    Anemone
    +1
    Oh, really last time I checked soda doesn't cause lung cancer or emphysema.
  • vicky 2010/02/25 17:54:04
    vicky
    +3
    i love coke, no offence but the person that posted this is an idiot....=_=
  • katieheart 2010/02/25 16:51:36 (edited)
    katieheart
    +1
    well i cant drink sodas and i dont smoke. theyre both unhealthy but i will take a soda over a ciggarette any day.(im not saying i dont like sodas:).
  • Ragdoll 2010/02/25 16:15:25
    Ragdoll
    +2
    Honestly...what else are they going to tell us to make us healthier? If people choose to smoke cigarettes and dirty their lungs, their choice...if people choose to drink 50 gallons of soda a year, THEIR CHOICE!!!! Stop trying to point out all the grimy details to every kind of "junk" we put in our bodies! The point is...nobody cares!
  • Papillon 2010/02/25 16:12:33
  • Youknowthatzright 2010/02/25 15:52:48 (edited)
    Youknowthatzright
    +1
    I am addicted to pepsi. It used to be diet, but I read so much horrifying crap about the diet ingredient, that I can't bring myself to drink it anymore, so I'm on regular. I drink 2 a day, and am trying to quit. Its hard, the fizz is so good. 3 cents isn't going to stop anyone from drinking soda - yes, it is addictive, just as anything else that is sooooo good, like chocolate, chips and little debbie swiss rolls. I am trying to quit, but I don't think you can compare the addiction to cigarettes, or the long term affect. The long term affect of everything we eat in the US is bad for us, if it isn't the food, its the packaging that is bad for you. But until we all have the time, land and desire to grow our own food and sit around and "can" like our great grandmothers, I doubt much will change in our busy lifestyles.
  • ladypuppylove 2010/02/25 15:28:42
    ladypuppylove
    +1
    I'd take a coke over a cigarette anyday
  • Bonnie 2010/02/25 15:28:32
    Bonnie
    +1
    Remember when Coke ran an ad campaign that claimed that Coca-cola was hydrating because it had water in it? LMAO. Whatever. I drink soda like it's the source of life AND I smoke, and smoking is definitely worse. Plus, I don't become borderline homicidal if I run out of coke and can't go get some right away!!
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Kathleen Willcox

Kathleen Willcox

United States

2009/10/23 23:07:45

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