As a mother and a two-time cancer survivor, I would do anything to prevent my children, or anyone for that matter, from getting a cancer diagnosis. Along with avoiding tobacco and limiting sun exposure, there is another major factor that many Vermonters may not even know causes a number of cancers, and that is obesity.
Did you know that 60% of Vermonters are overweight or obese? One of the leading causes of the current obesity epidemic is the easy and affordable access to sugar-sweetened beverages, which have become a staple of many families’ diets.
Our culture acknowledges that tobacco use leads to death and disease, and therefore we accept that if we want to purchase these harmful products, we pay additional taxes. Sugary drinks have been proven to be a leading cause of obesity and obesity is a major link to a host of diseases, including cancer.
To me, it is a no-brainer to support the proposed 2% tax per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages.
Taxes on harmful products, like tobacco, do not take away an individual’s right to purchase or consume those products. Small businesses, even on the New Hampshire border, have not been put out of business by tobacco taxes, and the last time I checked the tobacco industry is still thriving, even in the face of higher taxes on their products and growing numbers of tobacco related deaths.
Lets not wait for obesity to claim the same amount of lives that tobacco has before we start to really take this threat seriously. I urge all Vermonters to embrace the 2% tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and to be weary of propaganda filtering into our state from the beverage industry.