Very often, you will come across references to the food and beverage industries repeating tobacco industry tactics to battle public health policy.
What, exactly, are tobacco industry tactics? This information sheet from Americans For Nonsmokers’ Rights explains them very well.
- Claim “junk science”
- Claim “economic loss” in response to proposed policies
- Claim action (i.e. smoking, drinking 48-ounce sodas) is a fundamental right
- Create front groups
- Attempt to divert legislation via intimidation, creation of task forces, or alternative industry-friendly solutions
- Attempt to delay or prevent implementation of policy
- Create a sense of ‘controversy’ when there isn’t one
While this can be quite a well-oiled and overwhelming machine to take on, we like this quote from “The Politics of Local Tobacco Control,” published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (substitute ‘food industry’ or ‘soda industry’ for ‘tobacco industry’):
“Despite the tobacco industry’s superior financial resources, enactment of a specific local ordinance depends not on the tobacco industry but on how seriously the health advocates mobilize in support of the legislation. When the health community makes a serious commitment of time and resources, it wins, but when the health community fails to make such a commitment, the tobacco industry prevails, more by default than because it has superior financial resources.”