In the U.S. and in Europe the drive to contain the spread of obesity by means of fiscal instruments is increasing. This usually means levying new taxes on particular kinds of food and beverages. But can this a proper and viable approach to educate the public to better eating habits?The so-called "vice taxes" distort markets and curtail the freedom of choice of individual consumers. Moreover, their impact tends to be quite regressive, as they hurt the poorer part of the population. These taxes do often stem from the prejudices and the influence of pressure groups. Most importantly, "vice taxes" fail on their own terms, as many no less harmful foods aren't taxed.A wholesome diet is predicated on healthy choices and on the awareness of the consequences of one's own decisions in this field. If the real goal of opinion- and policy-makers is a healthier population, as opposed to greater tax revenues, it becomes necessary to ditch dubious-albeit popular-notions and look to alternative approaches that emphasize education and do not curb the freedom of choice of individuals.