Imagine you had a multibillion-dollar industry that was (a) enormously profitable and (b) under frequent attack from public health researchers because (c) it’s demonstrably bad for the health of your customers.
This was, of course, the story of the tobacco industry, and it is – right now – the story of the sugar-sweetened beverage industry. Like the cigarette makers, the peddlers of soda cannot do much about any of this: they owe it to their shareholders to maintain those profits, and the products they sell evidently cannot, no matter how hard they try, be tinkered with to change factors (b) and (c).
…The first city to institute a soda tax will gain historic relevance and begin a kind of domino effect that proponents of public health can get behind. But it’s not going to happen without a struggle; remember, the beverage industry has no choice.
Mark Bittman writes for the NYT on the soda tax. The more I read about health policy, the more I am convinced that there are no magic bullet solutions. However, I would agree with Bittman that public health advocates need this “win” to build momentum in the fight against beverage lobbies. What do you think?