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San Francisco imposes health warnings on drinks

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-cans-cola-many-aluminum-red-soft-drink-close-up-image31228062San Francisco will be the first place in the US to impose health warnings on ads for sugary fizzy drinks and some other sweetened beverages.

The new regulation will affect drinks with more than 25 calories from sweeteners per 12 ounces so advertising for Coca-Cola Zero and other no-calorie drinks won’t require a warning, but ads for regular Coca-Cola will.

The city also requires warnings for other products such as sports and energy drinks, vitamin waters and iced teas that exceed the 25 calorie limit.

Milk and 100 per cent natural fruit and vegetable juice drinks are exempt.

The label for billboards and other ads will read: “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 warning will appply to print advertising within city limits: billboards, walls, taxis and buses. It won’t apply to ads appearing in newspapers, circulars, broadcast outlets or the internet.

Cans and bottles won’t have to carry the warning.

State legislators unanimously approved the proposal with an 11-0 vote requiring the warning, as well as two other measures aimed at curbing sugary drink consumption.

One proposal would prohibit soda ads on city-owned property, much like San Francisco does with tobacco and alcohol. Another would prohibit city funds from being used to buy soda.

A 12-oz can of regular Coke contains 140 calories, all from sugar.

The can contains 39 grams of added sugar, which is about 9 teaspoons. One teaspoon of sugar has about 16 calories.

Liquid sugar is the new tobacco as far as some public health advocates are concerned.

About 32 per cent of children and teens in San Francisco are overweight or obese.

AP

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