Soda tax fight bubbling in Philadelphia

Jeff Niederdeppe, a communication professor at Cornell University who studies health messaging and co-author of the recent study “Americans’ opinions about policies to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages,” says the beverage industry will fight Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed soda tax by funding front groups to make it appear like there is a grassroots uprising.


Niederdeppe says:

“Inevitably, the main opponent of a Philadelphia soda tax will be the beverage industry. They will fund front groups with names like “Americans Against Taxes” to try to make it sound like there is a grassroots uprising against these policies. But make no mistake, this is just a powerful industry trying to protect its business interests – to keep marketing its harmful products however they want to, often in ways that appeal directly to children.

“The beverage industry will outspend public health advocates by a large margin in an effort to defeat this tax. They will use strategies that are designed to confuse voters. For example, they will call it a ‘food tax’ when in fact most beverages being taxed – like Coca-Cola and Sprite – are not food, just 16 teaspoons of sugar masquerading as a 20 ounce beverage.”


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