“In 1988, it was Phillip Morris’ Smokers’ Alliance. In 2018, it’s Big Soda’s YES! TO AFFORDABLE GROCERIES. Both are front groups, then the tobacco industry’s and today the American Beverage Association’s,” said Mark Pertschuk. Pertschuk is the Director of a small advocacy organization called Grassroots Change. He is the former President of American for Nonsmokers’ Rights, which battled the tobacco industry for smoke-free workplaces.
Today, Pertschuk’s “Preemption Watch” project tracks efforts that step on local democracy. There has already been preemption of local ordinances related to nutrition in 11 states, this applies not just to a soda tax, but to menu labelling and other policies. More preemption bills (or statewide referendums) are likely to be introduced in 2018.