Did you know soda was bad for you? The American Cancer Society thinks you might not. The Society's Cancer Action Network sent a letter to the surgeon general asking for a "comprehensive" report on sodas. From the letter:
As was the case in 1964, when the Surgeon General first revealed to the broad American public the dangers of tobacco consumption, an unbiased and comprehensive report on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages could have a major impact on the public's consciousness and perhaps begin to change the direction of public behavior in their choices of food and drinks.
If we look back at the history of the nation, we know that the increasing incidence of obesity among the American public has overtaken us almost overnight. There seems to be a consensus about the problem and the cause, but what is lacking is an articulate, science-based and comprehensive national plan of action. We believe the combined resources and credibility of the Surgeon General could help us get there.
The American Cancer Society's analogy to tobacco doesn't really fly. I don't think I've ever seen an ad in my lifetime telling me 4 out of 5 doctors recommend Coca Cola, or that I should have a bottle of Mountain Dew to improve my immunity. The information about the health effects of soda is widely available. In fact, you can thank the federal government, and not corporations, for the prevalence of high fructose corn syrup over cane sugar in American soda. What would a "national plan of action" on soda look like? Like "Let's Move!"? Or like a wet dream from Mayor Michael Bloomberg?
Soda is available on the open market for those who want to buy it. The health risks are widely known and easy to find out. The American Cancer Society and other interested private parties likely already have the resources and infrastructure to run a marketing campaign if they feel not enough people are actually aware of the health risks of sodas; the instinct to involve government force is how we ended up with a federal government that spends nearly twice what it takes in. If, on the other hand, a "national plan of action" is envisioned to include more federal controls on soda, well then that, like all substance control policies by the government, creates health risks of its own. And if it's just more agitation for a soda tax, well, that idea's not so popular (even among the young, healthy and wealthy!), which might explain the appeal to authority via a "science-based" plan. Maybe they can add it to ObamaCare? For the childen.
Reason on food politics