(Jeff Chiu/2014 AP file photo)

(Jeff Chiu/2014 AP file photo)

Supervisors renew battle against sugary drinks with proposal targeting ads

After losing an effort to impose a tax on sugary beverages in November, members of the Board of Supervisors promised to keep the soda battle going. On Tuesday, they followed through with that pledge.

“I call it Round 2 against Big Soda in San Francisco,” said Supervisor Eric Mar, who along with supervisors Scott Wiener and Malia Cohen introduced pieces of legislation that would impose warning labels on soda advertisements, prohibit the use of city funds to buy soda products and prohibit any soda advertisements on public property.

The warning label will read: “Drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.”

“There is no one approach that is going to help address the growing health care problem that sugary drinks are creating in our country,” said Wiener, explaining his push for the label. “We are going to have to take various approaches. One of those approaches is education and making sure that consumers are receiving good information about the impact of these drinks.”

Health warnings are one of those strategies for public health awareness, Wiener said, noting “they have worked very well in the cigarette context.”

The soda industry, however, rejected the aim of the effort in a statement.

“Targeting one industry with politically opportunistic legislation does nothing to improve health outcomes and is designed to mislead the public into thinking obesity and diabetes can be cured with a label or a ban,” said Roger Salazar, CalBev spokesman. “Diet and nutrition, especially as they relate to diabetes and obesity, is a complex issue that deserves a comprehensive solution.”

Mar argued that The City's efforts “will help reduce the consumption of sugary drinks and to fight the diabetes and obesity epidemic in our city.” Pointing to the need for action, he said that, according to statistics, one in three children will become diabetic in their lifetime and that number is greater — one in two — for Latinos and blacks.

“Last November, 56 percent of voters in San Francisco agreed that we must do much more as a city to reduce access to harmful sugary beverages like sodas and energy drinks,” Mar said.

The American Beverage Association spent $8 million to sink The City's 2-cents-per-ounce sugary-beverage tax measure, while supporters spent $270,000. Fifty-six percent of the voters supported it, but since the tax revenue was earmarked for health-promotion programs, it required two-thirds approval. The measure fared the worst in minority neighborhoods.

But a similar November measure was met with success in Berkeley, which became the first city in the United States to pass a soda tax at 1 cent per ounce. It took a simple majority since the funds were not designated for any specific use.

San Francisco's renewed legislative efforts come as the Open Truth campaign funded by local hospitals has begun placing advertisements warning of the health risks of drinking soda on public transit.

Bay Area NewsEric MarGovernment & PoliticsPoliticsScott Wienersoda tax

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A sign about proposed development of the bluff at Thornton State Beach in Daly City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Retreat center proposed at popular state beach

Daly City residents oppose construction on ocean bluffs

Rev. Roland Gordon shows “The Great Cloud of Witnesses” collage mural at the Ingleside Presbyterian Church, which he began building in 1980.<ins> (</ins>
Rev. Roland Gordon preaches love in action

Pastor promotes peace, hope through art and prayer

Basketball (Shutterstock)
SI alum Begovich gets his moment, but Stanford falls on Senior Day

MAPLES PAVILION — Generally speaking, Stanford’s home finale on Saturday afternoon, a… Continue reading

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announces federal firearms charges against two men for their roles in a March 2019 shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center in a news conference alongside SFPD staff at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Departing U.S. attorney predicts corruption probe will continue

David Anderson shook up City Hall as top federal prosecutor

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, a former school board member, has been asked to help secure an agreement between the school district and teacher’s union. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supervisor Walton tapped to mediate teacher contract talks

District and union at odds over hours in-person students should be in the classroom

Most Read