Today’s Editorial for December 11: Why stop at booze and smokes?

Cayman Islands residents with vices like drinking and smoking will soon have to pay much more to indulge in their habits.

A duty increase on alcohol will raise the costs of beer, wine, champagne and spirits any day now and happy hour won’t be as happy anymore.

Import duty on cigarettes is also going up, but that’s only part of why the price of smokes will skyrocket. Several more provisions of the new Tobacco Law will come into effect raising the costs to those who deal in cigarettes, who in turn will pass those costs on to consumers.

These extra costs will probably curtail or stop the use of tobacco and/or alcohol in some people. This is a good thing, given the health risks involved, especially to those who are more than moderate users.

It will also make Cayman a safer place if it cuts down on drink driving and second-hand smoke in public places.

But why should the government stop at just alcohol and tobacco if it wants to raise money and make a healthier society?

The government could just as easily put a higher tax on soft drinks containing sugar. With the high incidence of childhood obesity and early-onset diabetes, a cola tax might just be the cure for parents who allow their children to have such unhealthy nutrition habits.

And while we’re on the topic of nutrition, why not institute a tax on any restaurant food that is meant to be eaten with your hands and not utensils. This would not only cut down on a host of ailments ranging from heart disease, cancer and diabetes, it would also cut down on viruses since people wouldn’t be eating with their hands as much.

The government could also raise taxes on any item that either makes a vehicle: go faster, look faster or sound faster. That would not only save lives, but also cut down on noise pollution.

If we all want a healthier and safer community to go with a balanced government budget, we should look beyond just hitting up smokers and drinkers.

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