On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed three pieces of legislation attacking the sugar in soda drinks. One proposal from Supervisor Scott Wiener requires billboards, buses, transit shelters, posters and sports stadiums to sport warning labels on soda advertising. Another proposal from Supervisor Malia Cohen bars any advertising for soda on city property. A third proposal from Supervisor Eric Mar prevents the city from spending any money on soda.
The Board of Supervisors just unanimously passed my legislation requiring health warnings on ads for soda and other sugary drinks. This legislation is the first time any government has required health warnings for sugary drinks. The concept is the same as health warnings on ads for cigarettes. These drinks are a significant factor in the explosion of type 2 diabetes and other health problems. We are trending toward 40% of Americans having type 2 diabetes, which is a major problem for our healthcare system. We have an obligation to try to reduce consumption to make our community healthier. This legislation moves us in that directions.
Last November, nearby Berkeley adopted Measure D–the world’s first tax on soda.
Roger Salazar, spokesman for the American Beverage Association, told the Chronicle that his organization was “disappointed that the board took the politically expedient route of scapegoating sugar-sweetened beverages instead of finding a comprehensive solution to the complex issues of obesity and diabetes.” He added that the American Beverage Association may file suit against the legislation.