I gave up soda-type beverages a couple of years ago. I certainly enjoyed the carbonated, caffeinated little cans of wonder, but somehow I knew that they weren’t good for me. As a scholar of propaganda, I’m amazed at how similar the large soda manufacturing companies are to the large tobacco manufacturing companies.
The comparison is mostly that they seek to change audiences minds without letting them know that they have a vested interested in selling more soda. I’m not the only one who noticed this comparison. Kelly Brownell writes the following in Time Magazine:
The soda industry funds scientists who reliably produce research showing no link between SSB consumption and health. The tobacco industry bought favor from community and national organizations by giving large donations. In an ironic twist, Coca Cola and PepsiCo are corporate sponsors of the American Dietetic Association.
The soda industry hit a new low this year. In 2010, Philadelphia’s mayor and health commissioner had both supported an SSB tax and came within one vote of having the tax passed by the city council. In 2011, when the mayor made it clear he would reintroduce the tax, the industry created an organization called Foundation for a Healthy America, which gave a gift of $10 million to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for research and prevention of childhood obesity. Would the hospital accept money from a tobacco company to study anti-smoking programs? The hospital tried to give some of the money to the city to run obesity programs through city health centers, but the mayor refused on the grounds it was funded by the beverage industry.