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Activists Sue Coke, American Beverage Association for Deceptive Marketing

The nonprofit Praxis Project has filed a lawsuit to stop sugary drink advertising.
January 6, 2017

​OAKLAND, Calif. – The latest salvo in the war on sugar has been fired by the Praxis Project, a nonprofit group that filed a lawsuit against The Coca-Cola Company and the American Beverage Association (ABA) to stop what it called deceptive advertising of sugar-sweetened beverages, Bloomberg reports.

The complaint lists studies linking sugared drinks to cardiovascular disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes. “From the 1950s until the late 1990s, the tobacco industry engaged in an elaborate campaign of disinformation to cast doubt on the science connecting cigarettes to lung cancer and other diseases,” said Maia Kats, who directs litigation for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which is representing Praxis in the suit. “Like the tobacco industry, Coca-Cola needs to replenish the ranks of its customers, and it tries to recruit them young,” Praxis said in its complaint.

Coca-Cola countered that its products are clearly labeled with calorie and other nutritional information. “We take our consumers and their health very seriously,” said spokesman Kent Landers. “We will continue to listen and learn from the public health community and remain committed to playing a meaningful role in the fight against obesity.”

This November, four localities (San Francisco, Oakland and Albany, California; and Boulder, Colorado) voted to impose a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Just before Christmas, a judge dismissed a lawsuit against Philadelphia’s soda tax.