Big Soda is playing games with your health. Again.
Three months after public health organizations — including mine, the American Heart Association — and advocates for health and early childhood development applauded the Philadelphia City Council for approving a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on regular and diet soda drinks, the beverage industry fought back Wednesday with a lawsuit to try blocking the law from taking effect.
The industry’s motives aren’t steeped in concern about the law. Or medicine. It’s about business, of course, and their business is selling sugary drinks, the very item many nutritionists point to first when talking about problems with the typical American diet and this nation’s growing obesity epidemic.
This lawsuit was somewhat expected. After all, Big Soda spent $10 million trying to defeat the vote, and dangled another $10 million as a gift to fund Philadelphia’s pre-K program for an entire year merely to try delaying the vote on this measure. Since those strategies failed, the industry is looking for another way to delay or prevent the Jan. 1 enactment of the tax.
In the 1990s, the AHA played a strong role in fighting Big Tobacco. So we have an idea of what we’re up against.