US Congresswoman Wages War On Soda

Monday, June 6th 2016, 10:37 pm
By: News 9

The nation's obesity epidemic has turned a spotlight on sugary drinks. Coca-Cola is still the world's biggest beverage company, but health advocates are keeping up the pressure - and posing the question: is soda the new tobacco?

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro isn't afraid of a fight. A cancer survivor, she takes a stand on health issues. Right now, that means sugar.

"For me, sugar is the new tobacco," said DeLauro, (D) Connecticut.

DeLauro introduced a bill proposing a federal soda tax, one cent per teaspoon of sugar, which the industry is against. The American Beverage Association said in a statement, "the soda tax is an old idea that has gotten no traction."

But Delauro says it will help Americans, by discouraging consumption and fighting obesity.

"I think the government has a responsibility the way we did with tobacco and that is to increase the cost of sugary beverages," said DeLauro.

Nutrition professor Marion Nestle studies soda's impact on public health.

"You're drinking liquid candy," said Nestle.

She wrote a book about soda politics and says Coca-Cola has been forced into some embarrassing disclosures. The company recently admitted it's been funding a long list of health organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics - which you might expect to be speaking out against soda.

"If you buy silence, you get silence," Nestle said.

Coke said it is not trying to buy silence - but to support solutions to public health issues. Yet, Americans appear to be reconsidering their long love affair with soft drinks. Soda sales have dropped every year for a decade, plunging to the lowest level in 20 years.

Last year, Berkeley, California, became the first city in the nation to pass a soda tax. It's projected to raise more than a million dollars in the first year.