fat tax
n. A tax imposed on foods that are deemed to be unhealthy, particularly those that contribute to obesity and other health problems.

Example Citations:
Ontario has backed off a so-called fat tax on doughnuts, burgers and other meals under $4, saying paying more for fast food would not encourage people to make healthier choices.
—Keith Leslie, "McGuinty rules out so-called fat tax after protest from restaurant industry," The Canadian Press, April 20, 2004

A recent study in the British Medical Journal, found that a "fat tax" could help prevent up to 1,000 premature deaths from heart disease a year in the UK. The plan will be welcomed by the British Medical Association, which last year debated a call for a tax on saturated fats to tackle obesity. GPs argued that the tax would help to cover the high cost of treating obesity and might change people's behaviour.
—David Charter and Sam Lister, "Junk food under attack by fat tax," The Times (London), February 19, 2004

Earliest Citation:
Smoking is indeed a costly health problem. But so, for example, are obesity and overindulgence in artery-clogging foods. Should there then be a "fat" tax to help pay for the diseases brought on by bad eating habits?
—"Socking it to smokers," Los Angeles Times, January 9, 1985

Notes:
The fat tax — a subset of the sin tax (1901) — has been proposed and implemented in many jurisdictions over the past 20 years or so. It has also appeared under different names over the years, the most popular of which are fat food tax (1995), fatty food tax (1994), junk food tax (1981), obesity tax (1993), and Twinkie tax (1989).

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