San Francisco Looking to Follow Philadelphia in Implementing Soda Tax

Legislators in San Francisco and Oakland are looking to implement a tax on soft drinks in an effort to combat obesity
The controversial measure will be voted on in November.

Wikimedia Commons / Marlith / CC BY-SA 3.0

The controversial measure will be voted on in November.

The Bay Area may be the next battleground in America’s ongoing war with obesity. San Francisco voters will have the chance to vote on a proposed soda tax on the November ballot.

A similar measure is being considered across the bay in Oakland and Albany, California. Berkeley is one Bay Area community that already has a soda tax, and experts believe that expanding the footprint of the tax will increase its success.

The proposal comes as the city is already embroiled in a complicated legal battle with soda manufacturers. To the chagrin of the soda industry, San Francisco wants to label sugary drinks as contributing to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. No such label has been introduced in a U.S. city.

This soda tax news comes on the heels of Philadelphia’s new per-ounce soda tax, making the Pennsylvania city the largest one to have such a tax. Some, including California political strategist Larry Tramutola, believe that passage of a soda tax bill in San Francisco and Oakland — two cities with vastly different demographics — could weaken the soda industry’s defense and kickstart a campaign for a nationwide soda tax.

In either case, even putting these items on the ballot is progress. As the American populace grows increasingly obese, every healthy initiative can help combat that trend. For its part, the Bay Area is the latest sign that health-conscious eating is becoming more and more mainstream.

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