The soda industry has been borrowing advertising tactics from tobacco for years, but it appears that they are now in hot water. The same deceptive marketing tools that contributed to the downfall of tobacco ads may mean a big hit for big soda. A lawsuit filed by the Praxis Project on January 4, 2017 against the Coca-Cola Company alleges that the makers of Coca-Cola have downplayed the risks of soda consumption to consumers. The lawsuit claims that Coca-Cola has also funded studies and scientists whose research has greatly overstated the role of exercise in health and weight loss.
Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association (ABA) point to the amount of low- or no-calorie products that the company has released as evidence that they truly have consumers’ best interests at heart. They also note that they have been transparent in their financial relationships with scientists and studies.
The lawsuit’s call to action includes a Coca-Cola–funded “corrective public education campaign to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.” They also call for warning labels akin to those on cigarette packages stating that “consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.”
Should this lawsuit go through, many of the regulations to which the tobacco industry is subject may soon take hold of big soda.
What do you think of these allegations? Should advertising on soda be more restricted? Tell us in the comments below.