Should Soda Makers Stop Marketing To Kids Under 16?

The Center For Science In The Public Interest (CSPI), and the International Association of Consumer Food Organizations (IACFO). have joined together to start the “Global Dump Soda” campaign.

Concerned that developing countries will start drinking as much soda as we fatties here in the States (a legitimate worry, we must admit,) they’re asking governments around the world to require soda companies to change the way they do business. They want more low-sugar alternatives to soda, smaller portion sizes of existing high-sugar sodas, prominent display of calorie information, and warning labels that warn consumers to drink water to quench thirst.

In addition, they’re asking that soda companies “stop promoting and selling sweetened beverages, including sports drinks and fruit flavored beverages and teas, in all public and private elementary, middle, and high schools” and to instead sell fruit juice (in container sizes of 250 ml or less.)

These sorts of campaigns always remind us of something we noticed way back when we were in school. When kids were asked how to stop other kids from smoking, the first thing our classmates always said was, “Advertise against it,” but when the instructor asked the class if they were influenced by advertising they always said no. Either the kids were lying or they knew that cheesy “don’t smoke” ads and warning labels didn’t work and wouldn’t keep them away from the forbidden pleasure of smoking themselves to death. Probably both.

Personally, we drank too much Coke in high school because they hid the coffee machine in the teacher’s lounge. Damning teenagers to high school without caffeine is cruel and unusual punishment, even if the alternative is to be fat with rotten teeth.

In our elementary school, however, soft drinks were not allowed and we didn’t consider it much of a hardship at the time. On the other hand, death would surely have come to anyone attempting to pry the “Ecto Cooler” juice box from our tiny fingers.

Do you think soft drinks should be banned from schools?

The Global Dump Soda Campaign