A new poll indicates that the majority of Canadian consumers believe unhealthy food should be taxed at a higher rate than food that is beneficial to health. National food and health agencies in various countries, for example, New Zealand, the UK and the US, have considered imposing higher taxes on unhealthy food, but the proposal has thus far been dismissed as overly draconian and dictatorial.

However, a new poll conducted by Ipsos Reid for Canada’s CTV News and The Globe and Mail indicates that more than half of Canadians believe high fat food such as cakes, chocolate, carbonated soft drinks and potato chips should be subject to a higher tax rate than nutritious foodstuffs and drinks.

IN a country where nearly half the population is clinically obese, concern is widespread to help people slim down, and in particular to encourage healthy eating habits in children.

Some observers draw comparisons with alcohol and cigarettes, ‘vices’ which are already subject to higher taxes. According to the poll, four out of ten Canadians agree that people who maintain a healthy life style should be rewarded with a tax break.

As health economist Dr John Schaafsma told CTVnews.com, “By taxing fat, you’re really killing two birds with one stone; you’re raising tax revenue for the health care system at the same time you’re discouraging the consumption of fat.”

The poll quizzed 1000 Canadians last month, and its results are considered to be accurate within 3.1 percentage points, reported CTVnews.com.

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