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San Francisco Wants to Add Warning Labels to Soda and Sugary Drinks

Image by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/vox_efx/3063389109>Vox Efx</a>/Flickr/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">Creative Commons</a>

After a failed soda tax initiative last November, backers of San Francisco's Proposition E are aiming to pass new legislation that would require warning labels on advertising for soda and other sugary drinks.

In doing so, San Francisco would become the first city in the country to mandate such a warning. While not as dire as the warnings on cigarette cartons, the proposed labeling would read:

"WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco."

Supervisors Scott Wiener, Malia Cohen, and Eric Mar (who were the key backers of the soda tax) propose putting the label on ads that appear on all surfaces within the city, including billboards and sports stadiums. They also want to ban such ads on city property including Muni buses, benches and shelters, and prohibit city departments from spending money on sugary beverages.

The law would not apply to vendors on city property, such as the cafe in City Hall, nor to media the city has no authority over, such as TV, radio and newspapers. Retailers that allow soda advertising in their stores without warning labels would have 30 days to remove the ads or face a fine.

The push for new legislation is a response to what proponents of the soda tax consider a small victory, despite the law failing to pass last year (as a two-thirds vote was needed). Proposition E still garnered a 55% majority and seemed to serve as proof that residents are in favor of restricting sodas and the like.

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