Op-Ed Columnist - Miracle Tax Diet - NYTimes.com:

No, it was the cigarette tax. Every 10 percent price increase on cigarettes reduced sales by about 3 percent over all, and 7 percent among teenagers, according to the 2005 book “Prescription for a Healthy Nation.” Just the 1983 increase in the federal tax on cigarettes saved 40,000 lives per year.

Remind you of anyone?

Mr. Paterson suggested the tax — an 18 percent sales tax on soft drinks and other nondiet sugary beverages — to help raise $400 million a year to plug a hole in the state budget. But it’s also a landmark effort that, if other states follow, could help make us healthier.

Not a bad idea.