SAN FRANCISCO—The American Beverage Association (ABA) sued the city of San Francisco in federal court on Friday, July 24, in an effort to stop the implementation of the city’s new ordinances that will require health risk warnings to be labeled on sugary beverage advertisements, including sodas, energy drinks, and sports drinks ads.
According to San Francisco officials, on June 9 lawmakers unanimously voted in favor of putting warning labels on all advertisements for common sugary beverages within city limits. This law is the first of its kind, and has never been implemented in United States history.
The law is expected to go into effect later this summer, and 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.”
In addition to labeling drinks advertisements, the San Francisco Mayor Edward Lee also signed two additional ordinances that will ban advertisements for sugary beverages that fall on publicly-owned property, as well as deny the allocation of city funds to purchase sugary beverages. This new law will prohibit beverage ads to be placed in parks and bus stops.
According to city official Scott Wiener, this is all an effort for the city to provide San Francisco locals with better facts to make informed decisions about what beverages they will consume. The city’s priority with this new law will be to reduce consumption of drinks that are directly correlated with the most common health problems.
The ABA will be joined by the California State Outdoor Advertising Association, as well as the California Retailers Association, in the the lawsuit. All parties are claiming that the city’s new legislation is a violation of the First Amendment, and will be suing the city for the ordinances to label beverages and ban advertising on city property.