Supervisors Cohen, Mar and Wiener will introduce legislation to require health warnings on soda advertisements posted in San Francisco, ban soda advertisements on publicly owned property, and prohibit city spending on sodas and sugary beverages


San Francisco, CA – Today, three San Francisco Supervisors who led the San Francisco Soda Tax Campaign in 2014 will introduce new legislation to combat chronic diseases caused by the consumption of sodas and other sugary beverages. Supervisors Malia Cohen, Eric Mar and Scott Wiener have authored legislation that will target advertising of sodas, by requiring health warnings on posted ads in San Francisco and banning ads on publically owned property, and prohibiting the use of city funds for the purchase of sugary beverages. 

“Last November, 56 percent of voters agreed that San Francisco must do more to reduce access to harmful products and sugary drinks,” said Supervisor Mar. “We are continuing this fight in 2015 with legislation that will make our communities healthier and better informed about the risks posed by Big Soda.”

“Soda companies are spending billions of dollars every year to target low-income and minority communities, which also happen to some of the communities with the highest risks of Type II diabetes. This is not a coincidence.” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. “This ban on soda advertising will help bridge this existing health inequity.”

“Last fall we heard over and over again from voters – and also the soda industry -- that we should be focusing to improve efforts around education of the harmful effects of sodas,” said Supervisor Wiener. “These health warning labels will give people the information they need to make informed choices about how these sodas are impacting their lives and the lives of people in their community.” 

Each Supervisor will be introducing a piece of legislation:

  • Supervisor Wiener’s legislation requiring health warnings on all posted advertisements for sugar-sweetened beverages with 25 or more calories per 12 ounces. The warning will read the following “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.” The size of the warnings will be at least 20% of the ad space, which is the standard required by the FDA on tobacco warnings. The warnings will only apply to advertisements posted after the effective date of the legislation.
  • Supervisor Cohen’s legislation will prohibit the placement of advertisements for sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages on city owned property. Currently, tobacco and alcohol advertisements are subject to this prohibition. There will be an exception for permitted events in public spaces, like Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park, where the permit and lease can grant separate rules. 
  • Supervisor Mar will introduce legislation that bans the use of city funds, whether by city departments or city contractor, on the purchase of sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages.

The City’s independent Budget and Legislative Analyst Office has placed the financial impact of sugary drinks at over $50 million costs even when only considering diabetes and obesity. Without action, one in three of today’s children will develop diabetes in their lifetime, and among African American and Latino youth, half will develop diabetes.

In November 2014, voters 56% of the voters in San Francisco voted in favor of two penny per ounce tax on sodas and other sugary beverages distributed in San Francisco. While this broke the 50% threshold required of a general tax, because the 2014 tax dedicated funding to specific health and nutrition programming, it was a special tax, which required a 2/3 majority to pass.

The legislation described above being introduced by Supervisors Cohen, Mar, and Wiener will not require a vote at the ballot, and can be passed by ordinance by the Board of Supervisors. 

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