Soda warning label won't make much difference

Published: Sunday, May. 18, 2014 - 10:05 pm

Re "Public needs warning on soda's threat to health" (Editorials, May 11): I applaud the editorial for highlighting the correlation between skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes with the consumption of sodas. It is true that Californians, especially teenagers, need to be made aware of the effects of regularly drinking soda.

But the issue isn't as straightforward as you imply. The article states that it's not enough for the FDA to overhaul nutrition labels because teenagers don't read the fine print on the back of a Coke can, but why would a teenager read the fine print on the front? If tobacco labels were as effective as intended, why have there been so many anti-tobacco campaigns in recent years? Obviously a label is not solving the problem.

The solution lies in public awareness and education, not new packaging. A warning label is just another way to trick ourselves into feeling like we're making a difference without doing any real work.

-- Sara Barr, Sacramento

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