San Francisco officials have just voted unanimously to approve adding health warning to ads promoting sugary sodas. Their reason was that these sweet beverages contribute to serious health issues such as diabetes.
The phrasing that they are proposing for ads is: “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 innovative choice that the state of San Francisco has made was successful in polarizing everyone who heard the news. While the soda industry is understandably upset and threatens to sue city officials in order to block the ordinance, supporters of the idea applaud it and gave statements promising to try to expand the warning requirement far beyond the state lines.
Ed Lee, the mayor, has not chosen a side, however he did have a spokesmen say that he is open to the idea of educating people with the help of warning labels placed on ads.
If the warning requirement is also approved by the Board of Supervisors next week, and the mayor doesn’t veto it, San Francisco will become the first state in country to add health warnings to sugary soda ads. The warning will only need to be added to ads, soda bottles and cans would remain warning-free.
Efforts to push a statewide warning failed earlier this year, however officials were not discouraged and John Maa, a general surgeon and member of the board of the American Heart Association in San Francisco, informs that this is the exact reason why they are attempting again to make a change.
Scott Wiener, a health supervisor who authored the soda warning proposal, gave a statement saying that “These are not harmless products that taste good. These are products that are making people sick and we need to take action”.
On the other side of the conflict, Roger Salazar, a spokesman who represents the state beverage industry, gave a statement a statement of his own, saying that the ordinate is not only bad public policy, but that is also affects free speech to a certain extent.
The San Francisco officials defined sugary beverages as drinks that have more than 25 calories from sweeteners per 12 ounces. What this means is that ads promoting no-calorie sodas such as Coca-Cola Zero will not need to add warnings, however ads promoting classic Coca-Cola will absolutely need to add them.
The ordinate is not just limited to sodas, but also includes vitamin waters, ice teas, sports drinks and energy drinks that exceed 25 calories.
The ordinate says that only printed ads that don’t go outside the city limits are required to add the warning. This includes billboards, walls, taxis and buses. Ads with a wider reach such as those in newspapers, circulars, broadcast outlets and on the Internet would not require the warning.
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