Proposed sugary drink bills get boost in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KTVU) - A series of proposed laws aimed at curbing soda consumption got a major boost in San Francisco Monday.

Supervisors Malia Cohen, Scott Wiener, and Eric Mar each sponsored proposals limiting how soda is bought, sold, or marketed in San Francisco.

Mar proposed banning the spending of city money on sugary soft drinks.

Cohen proposed a ban on advertising the soft drinks on city property. "It simply expands what will be prohibited from being sold on city property, we already do it with tobacco, alcohol, and now we will be doing it with sugary beverages," said Cohen.

Wiener proposed a warning label for any remaining ads. "My proposal is to require that sodas and sugary beverages ads have health warnings, very similar to cigarette ads," said Wiener.

The land use committee approved recommending the measures be adopted to the full Board of Supervisors.

During the hearing, medical experts lauded the committee, saying the drinks posed a threat of increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes.

But Lisa Katic, a dietitian consulting for the American Beverage Association addressed the board members, saying the drinks aren't the only cause for the metabolic diseases.

"I think a warning would be very misleading, if we're saying that this is the cause of obesity and diabetes when we know it's not. Both of these diseases have very many factors that play a role in their development," said Katic.

Roger Salazar from the beverage association CalBev says the new proposals unfairly target the beverage industry, and take choice out of the hands of consumers.

"Most voters believe that these are the kinds of choices that should be left up to them," said Salazar.

Supervisors supporting the measure say there is a long history of lawmakers restricting products that can cause harm to the public.

"Government played a really instrumental role in reducing smoking rates. We require people to wear seatbelts, we require motorcyclists to wear helmets, we pass health and safety regulations all the time," said Wiener.