Anti-soda activists look to war on cigarettes as a model with warning labels

Benjamin Lesczynski takes a sip of a "Big Gulp" while protesting the proposed "soda-ban," that New York City Mayor Bloomberg has suggested, outside City Hall in New York
French Press Agency (AFP)

Interesting article from Raw Story and the French News Agency (which does a lot of articles on tobacco and e-cigs).

Activists trying to fight obesity in kids and adults got together at the Center for Science in the Public Interest to discuss how to combat the epidemic of obesity and diabetes. One of their proposals was to copy a technique used by anti-tobacco advocates many, many years ago –legislation calling for warning labels on surgery drinks. It’s not as goofy as it sounds. Such a bill has already passed the State Senate in California.

The language is similar to warning labels for cigarettes: “Drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

“Give people the information at least,” said Harold Goldstein, one of the doctors and experts who attended the “Soda Summit.”

 “Once they have the information, then they will be ready for more.”

Now a warning label isn’t going to stop a 10-year-old kid from buying a soda, but maybe just maybe it will make parents think before buying a 12-pack of Coke for their kids if they are seeing that warning on the box.

Interesting, I have seen the period between 1960 and 2000 often referred to as either the “Tobacco War” or the “Cigarette War.” This article references the “Soda War.” I guess with the severe epidemic of diabetes, especially in the Deep South, it’s reaching the same level of urgency as the battle against tobacco 50 years ago (which obviously lingers to this day, or I wouldn’t be here doing this.).

The good news is, the education is having an effect:

“The signs of early victories in this war are that soda consumption, particularly consumption of sugar sweetened sodas, is down significantly” from a peak in 1998, said Jim Krieger, an organizer. “People are getting the message.”

Annual US consumption has dropped from 55 gallons to 44 gallons, a 17 percent decline, and water consumption has increased 38 percent over that period.

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