How personal responsibility arguments help industries avoid regulation: Lessons from Big Tobacco and Big Food

printer friendlyprinter friendly

Tobacco control shines as a beacon of success in public health -- one that has informed advocates from many fields in their efforts to protect the public from harmful products. But just as advocates have learned from tobacco control, major industries have learned from the tobacco industry itself. The food and beverage industry's opposition to recent regulatory efforts, for example, has gotten a lot of attention for resembling the counter-regulatory "playbook" established by the tobacco industry to fight tobacco control policies.

What does this playbook look like and how do Big Food and Big Tobacco's tactics compare? At this year's meeting of the American Public Health Association, we'll dig into these questions and share findings from a content analysis we did of media coverage of both industries.

We started by exploring media coverage of the tobacco industry from 1966 to 1991. We also analyzed news coverage of the food and beverage industry from 2000 to 2011, when obesity emerged as a public health concern. We found that both Big Tobacco and Big Food have shifted responsibility away from themselves and their harmful products by drawing on the deeply held American value of individual responsibility. However, their strategies for doing so differ. Unlike tobacco companies, which placed blame for smoking-related diseases explicitly on consumers, food and beverage representatives primarily have used the news to deflect responsibility by creating costly "corporate social responsibility" campaigns and claiming to be "part of the solution" to nutrition-related diseases.

Our work offers advocates from both tobacco control and obesity prevention a more complete understanding of how two industries use the news to forestall regulation across shifting political landscapes. In addition, our analysis suggests that as the food and beverage industry uses the media to bolster its image, public health advocates must focus their efforts on undermining these self-promoting arguments to change the public's perception not only about harmful foods and beverages themselves, but also about the companies that produce and market them.

Please join us at session 43810 (Getting the message across: Manipulation or education?) on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 4:30 p.m. to learn more!


soda warning labels (1) sugar-sweetened beverages (2) george lakoff (1) front groups (1) advocacy (3) Rachel Grana (1) framing (14) news analysis (3) San Francisco (3) campaign finance (1) SB 1000 (1) food deserts (1) communication strategy (1) nonprofit communications (1) racism (1) McDonald's (1) seat belt laws (1) communication (2) equity (3) Coca-Cola (3) childhood obesity (1) community violence (1) Berkeley (2) Jerry Sandusky (3) junk food marketing (4) auto safety (1) social justice (2) regulation (2) cannes lions festival (1) violence prevention (8) Gardasil (1) Dora the Explorer (1) Amanda Fallin (1) media bites (1) physical activity (1) Pine Ridge reservation (1) FCC (1) institutional accountability (1) community safety (1) Happy Meals (1) Aurora (1) breastfeeding (3) Tea Party (1) prison phone calls (1) Texas (1) naacp (1) built environment (2) public health policy (2) Big Food (2) ssb (1) personal responsibility (3) race (1) industry appeals to choice (1) women's health (2) messaging (3) choice (1) mental health (2) junk food marketing to kids (2) American Beverage Association (1) news strategy (1) beverage industry (2) ACEs (2) community organizing (1) government intrusion (1) child sexual abuse (5) authentic voices (1) collaboration (1) prevention (1) diabetes (1) journalism (1) Nickelodeon (1) community (1) Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (1) Citizens United (1) environmental health (1) Bill Cosby (1) world water day (1) youth (1) vaccines (1) news (2) SB-5 (1) new year's resolutions (1) public health (71) Food Marketing Workgroup (1) health equity (10) online marketing (1) abortion (1) Joe Paterno (1) food and beverage marketing (3) water security (1) food (1) food marketing (5) digital marketing (3) sexual violence (2) Big Soda (2) news coverage (1) soda (12) media advocacy (23) food environment (1) childhood adversity (1) Black Lives Matter (1) HPV vaccine (1) indoor smoking ban (1) Sam Kass (1) stigma (1) El Monte (3) target marketing (9) political correctness (1) paper tigers (1) alcohol (5) autism (1) apha (3) Oakland Unified School District (1) values (1) gender (1) elephant triggers (1) soda industry (4) Connecticut shooting (1) sexism (2) Twitter for advocacy (1) cap the tap (1) cancer research (1) Community Coalition Against Beverage Taxes (1) Let's Move (1) public health data (1) water (1) Catholic church (1) sports drinks (1) personal responsibility rhetoric (1) childhood trauma (3) Measure O (1) Sandy Hook (2) food access (1) reproductive justice (1) measure N (2) community health (1) social change (1) snap (1) Marion Nestle (1) sanitation (1) news monitoring (1) inequities (1) suicide nets (1) education (1) obesity (10) Proposition 47 (1) corporate social responsibility (1) cancer prevention (1) media analysis (6) media (7) food swamps (1) diabetes prevention (1) obesity prevention (1) SB 402 (1) suicide prevention (2) tobacco control (2) prison system (1) sexual health (1) election 2016 (1) strategic communication (1) social media (2) Telluride (1) soda tax (11) gun violence (1) product safety (1) Big Tobacco (3) language (6) food industry (4) Chile (1) tobacco (5) Bloomberg (3) emergency contraception (1) nanny state (2) soda taxes (2) Newtown (1) cervical cancer (1) Michelle Obama (1) paula deen (1) children's health (3) tobacco tax (1) white house (1) privilege (1) health care (1) filibuster (1) weight of the nation (1) Whiteclay (4) Merck (1) Johnson & Johnson (1) safety (1) california (1) Proposition 29 (1) Richmond (5) food justice (1) beauty products (1) suicide barrier (2) violence (2) cigarette advertising (1) Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (2) healthy eating (1) Oglala Sioux (3) adverse childhood experiences (3) sexual assault (1) structural racism (1) childhood lead poisoning (1) tobacco industry (2) Golden Gate Bridge (2) marketing (1) chronic disease (2) junk food (2) democracy (1) Colorado (1) genital warts (1) Twitter (1) PepsiCo (1) cosmetics (1) liana winett (1) summer camps (1) sugary drinks (10) social math (1) default frame (1) Donald Trump (2) sandusky (2) gatorade bolt game (1) childhood obestiy conference (1) SSBs (1) Penn State (3) Wendy Davis (1) gun control (2)
  • Follow Us On Facebook
  • Follow Us On Twitter
  • Join Us On Youtube
  • BMSG RSS Feed

get e-alerts in your inbox: