A while back Denmark passed a law to implement one of the first comprehensive "fat taxes." A year after its implementation, it looks like they've changed their mind.
One of the biggest drivers of the reversal was apparently public opinion, not to mention the negative economic impacts.
I am often amazed at how easy many public health professions believe it is to change weight and corral bad behavior simply by just slapping a tax on things they don't like. Just today, the folks over at Freakonomics discuss a recent conference where fat taxes were thought a really good idea (I've been a many of these kinds of meetings too).
We economists often come across as uncaring , negative Nellies when we point out that such taxes often have very little effect on weight, have unintended consequences (as Denmark just realized), and are regressive (meaning that food taxes hit the poor the hardest).
But, at the end of the day, who is more caring? The folks pushing for costly taxes that wont materially change weight and health or those of us trying to prevent bad policies from affecting those who can least afford to pay the effects?