SF Mayor Newsom moves to tax soda

I don’t think I’ve had more than two or three sodas since I suffered through a kidney stone a couple years back. And since I lost 40 pounds. I approve of Newsom’s initiative. It’s just a tax, not prohibition, and it’s avoidable. Obesity is a huge problem.

Calling soda the new tobacco, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will introduce legislation this fall that would charge a fee to retailers that sell sugary beverages.

Newsom would need voter approval to tax individual cans of soda and sugary juice, but only needs approval from the Board of Supervisors to levy a fee on retailers. His legislation would charge grocery stores like Safeway and big-box stores, but would not affect restaurants that serve sodas.

Newsom wouldn’t say how much the stores would have to pay or how the city would spend the fees. When he first floated the idea in 2007, he said the money would go to his Shape Up San Francisco exercise program and for media campaigns to discourage soda drinking.

The mayor said the city attorney’s office has warned him the city would likely be sued over the matter, but he said it is worth the risk to try to curb a leading cause of obesity and diabetes.

“We know we’ll be sued,” he said. “But I really believe this is important to do.”

Newsom said he was particularly motivated to move forward with the legislation by today’s release of a UCLA study showing a link between soda and obesity in California. Researchers found that adults who drink at least one soft drink a day are 27 percent more likely to be obese than those who don’t – and that soda consumption is fueling the state’s $41 billion annual obesity problem.

The study also found that 41 percent of children and 62 percent of teens drink at least one soda daily.

“Soda is cheap, sweet and irresistibly marketed to teens,” said Susan Babey, the study’s lead author. “Not enough teens know about the health and dietary risks of drinking huge quantities of what is essentially liquid sugar.”

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