Tobacco executives must be thrilled that soda has become a prime target of public health activists. These days, it is seen as a slow-acting poison that contributes to type 2 diabetes, obesity and other health disorders. To some health officials, it is as threatening as cigarettes.
One result has been a surging interest in taxing it and other sugary beverages — a move designed to reduce demand just as tobacco taxes have deterred smoking. The nation passed its first soda tax in Berkeley two years ago. Philadelphia adopted one earlier this year, and now three California cities —