Citizens support candy and soda ban for SNAP benefits – 620 citizens, 1907 responses

Dec 02, 2015

Officials from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services announced they would seek a federal waiver to ban the purchase of candy and soda with benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. On December 2, the Live Free or Die Alliance decided to put the issue to New Hampshire citizens, posting the question “Should NH prohibit the use of food stamps to purchase candy and soda?” to Facebook members. 

A total of 77% of respondents answered directly or with a concurrence. Out of these responses, a 57% majority were in favor of banning the purchase of candy and soda with food stamps, with 43% opposed to a ban. Of the remaining respondents, 17% opted to discuss the subject in broader terms while 6% commented on unrelated issues. In sum, 620 citizens participated in the discussion with a total of 1,907 responses. 

Those in favor of a ban argued that candy and soda were luxury items, and that food stamps were intended only for necessary nutritional items. “If you want junk food work for it. Food stamps are to nourish you and your family when you cannot make ends meet,” one commenter wrote. “My tax payer dollars should only be spent on necessities,” another respondent said. “There should be a long list of restricted foods and beverages,” a citizen suggested. 

Some opponents of a ban argued that those receiving food stamps should be allowed the occasional treat. “Everybody deserves a little chocolate now and then,” one respondent said. Others opposed the move as a case of government overreach. “Just because someone is getting help to get by you should not dictate what they can eat,” a citizen wrote. One commenter expressed concern over the impact of such legislation on retailers. “Grocery stores should not have to pay to sort, categorize, and code items as soda and candy.”

Those opting not to give a yes or no response discussed a wide range of issues, with some criticizing the SNAP program as a whole. “There should be no food stamps,” a commenter wrote. Others argued the program should be expanded. “With the amount of money they give you, you’re lucky to afford milk and eggs,” a citizen said. A few offered alternative suggestions. “Prohibit seems harsh and impractical but limits could make good sense.” 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

Do you think candy and soda should be prohibited for purchase with food stamps? Leave a comment and have your say. 

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