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State Law Approaches to Limit Food Marketing to Youth

PHAI has conducted extensive research into how state consumer protection laws can be used to protect children and teens from harmful food and beverage marketing. After years of stalled attempts at the federal level to address tobacco marketing, action at the state level by state attorney’s general and the private bar resulted in the Master Settlement Agreement barring most forms of tobacco advertising. While food marketing to youth is certainly different, efforts to build accountability for harmful food marketing to youth can be greatly bolstered by more robust oversight at the state-level.

The following resources are available to support state-level efforts to protect youth from predatory marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages:

Digital Food Marketing

State Law Approaches to Address Digital Food Marketing to Youth: this report was written by PHAI with contributions from Berkeley Media Studies Group and the Center for Digital Democracy.  The report highlights a number of key legal and factual issues concerning the use of new media to market unhealthy foods and beverages to youth.  This practical resource for state attorneys general and public health advocates also contains detailed legal profiles of ten states. Profiles describe laws and regulations that can be invoked to address digital food marketing beyond general prohibitions on unfair and deceptive marketing.

State Law Approaches to Address Digital Food Marketing to Youth Report

 

Support for State Law Approaches to Address Digital Food Marketing to Youth was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundations Healthy Eating Research Program (#69293).

Viral Marketing to Children

It’s Not Just for Teens: Viral Marketing to Young Children describes how viral digital marketing tactics, such as “tell-a-friend” web campaigns, are used to induce children to share e-mail addresses of their friends and spread brand advertising of unhealthy foods among their peers (pdf).  This legal issue brief for state attorneys general and child health and privacy stakeholders explains the tactics that are used and suggests ways that they can be addressed under state law.

Pester Power Marketing 

Reining in Pester Power Food and Beverage Marketing by Cara Wilking applies our research to food marketers who appeal to kids’ ability to nag adults to purchase unhealthy foods and describes how state provisions addressing indirect attempts to influence consumers are triggered by pester power marketing (pdf).

50-State Consumer Protection Law Survey & State Profiles 

PHAI conducted a fifty-state review of state consumer protection laws to determine how they can be used to address unfair and deceptive food and beverage marketing practices directed toward children or those who purchase food and beverages for children. These state laws permit private citizens, and state attorneys general or prosecutors to take action to limit the marketing of unhealthy foods to children. We identified the leading or most likely to be invoked consumer protection statute for each state and the District of Columbia and summarized key provisions relevant to future claims alleging unfair, deceptive or unconscionable food marketing to children. The focus of the profiles is on relevant statutory language as opposed to case law interpreting substantive provisions.

INDIVIDUAL STATE CONSUMER PROTECTION PROFILES

Consumer Protection Map
Click to visit our interactive consumer protection map

Each state’s consumer protection profile opens as a pdf document:

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

This research was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Eating Research Program (#66968 & (#69293).

 

 


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