Flare-Up In The Tonic Wars

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Opinion editorial by WBZ NewsRadio political analyst Jon Keller

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — On a plane ride the other day, when they offered a drink to go with the tiny package of pretzel bits, I ordered a ginger ale, and man, was it good.

Drinking it reminded me that I never drink tonic anymore, and haven’t for years.

I grew up, started paying attention to my health, and realized that I was far better off with a glass of water.

It’s been a few years since the volume of bottled water sold exceeded tonic sales, but apparently Americans—kids, especially—are still guzzling enough sugary drinks to alarm the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

They’re calling on government to step in and go after tonic like they went after tobacco, demanding tougher warning labels and restrictions on advertising to kids.

The industry counters they shouldn’t be singled out for the obesity crisis, and points with pride to their own bet-hedging by peddling bottled water products.

And it feels like we’ve seen this debate before.

Lots of people are unwilling or unable to resist using unhealthy products—booze, tobacco, tonic, you name it.

Prohibition doesn’t work.

So it comes down to a marketing battle—TV ads showing the cool kids guzzling ice-cold sugary caffeine water, versus whatever warnings the doctors can spread.

Considering the potential human damage, you’d hope people will make responsible choices.

But there’s money to be made from those who won’t, and as you know, money talks.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio.

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Keller @ Large

Keller @ Large

Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more

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