Intended for healthcare professionals


Happy corporate holidays from Coca-Cola

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 10 January 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:i6833
  1. Robin Ireland, director1,
  2. John R Ashton, public health consultant2
  1. 1Food Active, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to: R Ireland info{at}

Selling sugary drinks at Christmas

I suppose we should have realised that Coca-Cola was up to something when it opened a head office next to the Royal Society of Medicine in Wimpole Street. The path of associating unhealthy products with health, wellbeing, and healthy lifestyles is one that has been well trodden down the years by the tobacco industry. The lessons have not been lost on Coca-Cola. In fact, you could argue that Coca-Cola started even earlier than tobacco.1

And the stakes have never been higher for the UK sugary drinks industry. In October 2015, Public Health England (PHE) published a report stating that not only is the consumption of sugar sweetened drinks particularly high in school age children but tends to be highest among the most disadvantaged.2 It suggested the introduction of a tax or levy on full sugar soft drinks. In August 2016, the government did just this, announcing a soft drinks …

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