Why I’m Boycotting Coke

Why Coke, you might wonder.  Why not Pepsi?  The answer is that diet coke is my soft drink of choice.  It’s easy for me to boycott other soft drinks since I don’t drink them anyway. I like diet coke, so that’s the subject of my boycott.

But why boycott soft drinks at all?  Answer: Because I’m concerned about their contribution to obesity, especially childhood obesity, and I’m disgusted by the tactics of the industry is using to fight sensible regulation. It turns out, for example, that American kids get something like 20% of their recommended daily calories from soft drinks, and there are good reasons to link this behavior with obesity. Yet the industry fights off even the mildest efforts to limit consumption.

I don’t really expect them to embrace regulation, though it wouldn’t kill them to go along with regulation of the most egregious efforts to get consumers to consumer too much sugar. For instance, a New York judge recently ruled against a pathbreaking New York City ordinance, which limited only the very largest sizes of sugared soft drinks.  Couldn’t Pepsi and Coke live with this very modest restriction on the use of their product?  For that matter, why don’t Pepsi and Coke impose this restriction on sale of their products themselves, rather than leaving it to the government?

The New York ruling also brings up the question of industry tactics. The law suit was brought by the NAACP and other minority representatives, using a law firm that just by coincidence has deep connections with the industry.  (You might suspect something from the fact that this New York case was brought by a firm from Atlanta, which is Coke’s hometown.) And it turns out that the industry has worked hard to enlist these groups despite the fact that obesity is an especially big problem for minority communities.  The NY Times recently reported on the long-term effort of the industry to suborn community groups and minority representatives, which echo the kinds of underhanded tactics used by the tobacco industry.

I started writing this post at an airport, and to tell the truth I really wanted a cola right then.  But the industry is going to have to act a little more like responsible corporate citizens before I’m going to help fund its activities with my consumer dollars.

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Reader Comments

2 Replies to “Why I’m Boycotting Coke”

  1. I support you 200% I will not boycott because I very rarely have soft drinks (4-5 drinks / year), but your gesture is the good one ! We
    have the chance in Québec that our french roots still plays and a one
    liter coke is still here something akward here (but unfortunately the
    «the biggest = the better» culture is gaining ground here also) We
    also have the chance that a Quebec law forbid publicity (propaganda like
    they rigthly say in Spanish) directed at kids. A BC university study
    found this one of the reasons why the kids obesity is a smaller problem
    here then in the rest of North America. Thank god, up to now my kid (6 years old) drink almost only water and juices. Un chaleureux BONJOUR du Québec Benoit St-Jean,  Conseiller en affaires internationales – Changements climatiques_______________________________________________________________________ Bureau de coordination du développement durable – Secteur des politiques économiquesMinistère des Finance et de l’Économie380 St-Antoine O. , Tour Sud – 4e étage, Montréal, Québec  H2Y 3X7Tel 514 499 2199 #3813,   cell: 514 774 [email protected]  www.mdeie.gouv.qc.ca/objectifs/ameliorer/developpement-durablePour notre environnement à tous, tournons 7 fois notre souris avant d’imprimer des documents …  —–“Legal Planet: Environmental Law and Policy” <[email protected]> a écrit : —–A : [email protected] : “Legal Planet: Environmental Law and Policy” <[email protected]>Date : 18/03/2013 08:16Objet : [New post] Why I’m Boycotting Coke

    Dan Farber posted: “Why Coke, you might wonder.  Why not Pepsi?  The answer is that diet coke is my soft drink of choice.  It’s easy for me to boycott other soft drinks since I don’t drink them anyway. I like diet coke, so that’s the subject of my boycott.

    But why boycott”

  2. I support you 200% I will not boycott because I very rarely have soft drinks (4-5 drinks / year), but your gesture is the good one ! We
    have the chance in Québec that our french roots still plays and a one
    liter coke is still here something akward here (but unfortunately the
    «the biggest = the better» culture is gaining ground here also) We
    also have the chance that a Quebec law forbid publicity (propaganda like
    they rigthly say in Spanish) directed at kids. A BC university study
    found this one of the reasons why the kids obesity is a smaller problem
    here then in the rest of North America. Thank god, up to now my kid (6 years old) drink almost only water and juices. Un chaleureux BONJOUR du Québec Benoit St-Jean,  Conseiller en affaires internationales – Changements climatiques_______________________________________________________________________ Bureau de coordination du développement durable – Secteur des politiques économiquesMinistère des Finance et de l’Économie380 St-Antoine O. , Tour Sud – 4e étage, Montréal, Québec  H2Y 3X7Tel 514 499 2199 #3813,   cell: 514 774 [email protected]  www.mdeie.gouv.qc.ca/objectifs/ameliorer/developpement-durablePour notre environnement à tous, tournons 7 fois notre souris avant d’imprimer des documents …  —–“Legal Planet: Environmental Law and Policy” <[email protected]> a écrit : —–A : [email protected] : “Legal Planet: Environmental Law and Policy” <[email protected]>Date : 18/03/2013 08:16Objet : [New post] Why I’m Boycotting Coke

    Dan Farber posted: “Why Coke, you might wonder.  Why not Pepsi?  The answer is that diet coke is my soft drink of choice.  It’s easy for me to boycott other soft drinks since I don’t drink them anyway. I like diet coke, so that’s the subject of my boycott.

    But why boycott”

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About Dan

Dan Farber

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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