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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Excise tax is great but could prove insufficient in curbing bad habits 

Readers weigh in on the new tax on sugar and tobacco, screening for genetic illness, BMI and nuclear weapons

Energy drinks will be one of several products subject to excise tax. Ravindranath K / The National
Energy drinks will be one of several products subject to excise tax. Ravindranath K / The National

Excise tax law should include fast food

I hope the new taxes will discourage people from buying unhealthy sugar-based drinks, energy drinks and cigarettes, though the tax rate on those should be higher to really make a difference. And why not impose a tax on fast-food chains? It would be a great move in the fight against obesity and diabetes.

Name withheld, Abu Dhabi

This is not fair. If it is about health concerns, then organic foods and healthy foods should be cheaper so we can afford them.

Muhanned Al-Belooshi, Dubai

Screenings for genetic illnesses and medical termination of pregnancy

I have heard radio commercials in Dubai that suggest "selective implantation." If termination is not legal in the UAE, then what happens to the embryos that are intentionally not implanted for reasons such as gender selection, genetic abnormalities or other? Does the local religious authority have an opinion on this? Does keeping those embryos frozen create a loophole of sorts? Or is it not considered a baby until successfully implanted?

Suzanne Arruda-Wessel, Dubai

The international community must develop a strategy to halt investment in nuclear weapons

With reference to the online report ‘Trump presidency calls for global front against chemical weapons after criticisms of his predecessor’ (August 22), while the intention to dismantle the stockpile of chemical weapons from across the globe is a positive step, the world will only be risk-free when chemical and nuclear arsenals are destroyed.

The international community can never go silent on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki tragedies, and the newborns in those Japanese cities continue to be the victims of the atrocity. As the world has already experienced the consequences of the most appalling cruelty ever carried out on humanity, world powers must set the example by reducing their nuclear stockpiles in a phased manner. Chemical and nuclear weapons jeopardise the existence of life on earth. Therefore, a strategy needs to be developed to stop the investments in the production of deadly weapons.

Ramachandran Nair, Oman

On the relevance of BMI in diagnosing obesity

BMI does not take into account body frame size. There are large, small and medium frames - a person with a small frame compared to one with a large frame will look fat and positively obese in comparison to someone the same height with a large frame. Your frame size is based on your measurements in such areas as your ankles, wrists etc, where no fat deposits are found.

Being too thin is just as dangerous as being too fat. But of course current trends make it all about looks instead of health.

Tanya Milbourne, Dubai