The evidence for comparing the two industries keeps coming. Both try to sway public opinion, avoid accountability, and muddle the science
Cigarettes used to be normal.
They were ubiquitous, cheap, and easy to get. They offered no benefit other than a temporary pleasurable sensation. Most folks probably knew they weren’t that healthy, but didn’t question their normalcy, or ubiquity.
These days, sodas are normal. They are ubiquitous, cheap, and easy to get. They offer no benefit other than a temporary pleasurable sensation. Most folks probably know that sodas are unhealthy, but few question their normalcy or ubiquity.
Today, the evidence is clear: smoking too many cigarettes can lead to life-threatening illnesses.
Today, the evidence is clear: drinking too many sugar-sweetened beverages can lead to life threatening illnesses.
In the last several decades, as we recognize more and more the role our food environment has had in the rise of obesity and its associated health problems, the practices of the food industry have been under increasing scrutiny, and its actions have earned it comparisons to the tobacco industry.
“There are, of course, differences between food and tobacco as substances.” As Kelly Brownell pointed out in a 2009 paper published in The Milbank Quarterly: “The most obvious is that humans must eat to maintain health and life, whereas the unnecessary activity of smoking is, in the words of former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare Joseph Califano, ‘slow-motion suicide.’”