The Nation's First-Ever Soda Warning Label Law Passes In San Francisco

In San Francisco, labels that warn of life-threatening conditions will be prominently visible on advertisements for cigarettes, alcohol, and most recently, soda.San Francisco lawmakers unanimously passed a law that will require soda advertisements to feature prominent warning labels that read: "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 new warning label requirement on sugary drink ads does exactly what the beverage industry has long called for: provides consumers with education," says Dr. Harold Goldstein, executive director at the California Center for Public Health Advocacy Now. "For every advertising message saying 'live for now' or 'open happiness,' consumers will also receive a science-based reminder that these products contribute to diabetes, obesity and tooth decay."

Earlier this year, a similar bill, which would have put warning labels on cans and bottles of soda themselves, died in the California Senate.

Assuming that the mayor does not veto the decision, the new ordinance will require the labels for advertisements featuring drinks "with more than 25 calories from sweeteners per 12 ounces," so zero-calorie sodas like Coke Zero would be exempt, but soda, sports drinks, Vitamin Water, and many juices and iced teas will fall under jurisdiction of the new law. Milk and juices that are made from 100 percent vegetable or fruit juices are also exempt, according to Yahoo. The warning labels will be seen on any advertisements within public spaces in San Francisco, like billboards, walls, taxis, and buses. The new law does not apply to online, magazine, or newspaper advertisements.