NEWS a New Zealand woman's 10-litre-a-day Coca-Cola habit proved lethal was no surprise to South Grafton couple Barry and Joan O'Connor.
Carting a 10-litre container of water out of a local supermarket yesterday, the former owners of the Tristrams Cordial franchise in Grafton said they no longer touched sugary fizzy drinks.
"People seem to be addicted to it. I know they were never addicted to soft drinks local makers made," Mr O'Connor said.
"I think it's just as much the marketing as the sugar and caffeine."
Although the couple steer clear of soft drinks now and Mrs O'Connor has sworn off sugar as a new year's resolution, they did recently find a use for Coca-Cola.
"Barry had a bit of cucumber stuck in his throat and up at outpatients they couldn't get it out," Mrs O'Connor said.
"They just went straight to the fridge and got a can of Coke out and were able get the blockage out by burping it up."
The fate of the New Zealand woman, Natasha Harris, was a shock to Halfway Creek shopper Dot Booker.
She said her husband had recently switched from sugary fizzy drinks to diet tonic water to mix with rum as his favourite drink.
"He had to do it because of a health scare," she said.
Mrs Booker said she shopped once a fortnight and bought six bottles of the tonic water and two of Coca-Cola.
"He still has a Coke now and again because he likes the taste, but it's mainly the diet tonic water he has now," Mrs Booker said.
She said people's lifestyles were becoming increasingly unhealthy.
"When you're in the car waiting, whenever you see people come out of a shop, they're drinking a soft drink or eating," she said.
Coca-Cola has disputed the finding of the New Zealand coroner linking its product to the woman's death.
It claims there is uncertainly about the cause of death. What do you think? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.