A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health conducted by researchers at the Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG) and the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) shows how “the tobacco industry influenced news coverage of mentholated cigarettes — which disproportionately impact the health of African Americans – to prevent a ban on them.”
The study “analyzed public debate on menthol policy between 2008 and 2011, including news coverage, government documents and meeting transcripts of a key advisory committee to the FDA, which was charged with evaluating the public health effects of menthol. In particular, tobacco executives argued that regulating menthol would have economic consequences, such as job loss and the creation of a black market, and would diminish freedom of choice among African American smokers.”
Sound familiar? It should, because these are the same strategies implemented by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics partners Coca-Cola and PepsiCo when it comes to any sort of regulation geared toward sugar-sweetened beverages.
San Francisco’s Beyond Chron columnist Dana Woldow has been diligently covering a proposed soda tax in San Francisco, particularly the way Big Beverage (via lobbying group The American Beverage Association) has deceptively spun and framed the topic.
Here are some relevant articles that directly parallel Big Tobacco’s playbook:
- Can Big Soda’s Statistics Be Trusted? (http://www.beyondchron.org/can-big-sodas-statistics-be-trusted/)
- Does Big Soda Support Free Choice? (http://www.beyondchron.org/soda-tax-myths-does-big-soda-support-free-choice/)
- Are Beverage Companies Friends to the Poor? (http://www.beyondchron.org/soda-tax-myths-are-beverage-companies-friends-to-the-poor/)