Democratic legislators in California want to tax sweetened beverages and limit the size of soft drinks sold in restaurants

A soda is seen in an archive photo. (IStock / Getty Images Plus)

A soda is seen in an archive photo. (IStock / Getty Images Plus)

State lawmakers are once again trying to discourage the consumption of sugary drinks, proposing a tax, warning labels and a ban on soda displays near cash lines, among other measures on Wednesday.

The five bills deal with what Democratic lawmakers call a public health crisis leading to an increase in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other ailments.

"The soda industry is the new tobacco industry," said MP David Chiu of San Francisco, promoting its measure to prevent restaurants from selling soda in cups. a size greater than 0.5 oz. "It's an industry that has used marketing and sales tactics to victimize low-income communities, communities of color in our country."

One of the four Californian adults is now obese, he said, an increase of 40% in two decades. More than half of Californians are overweight and more than half have diabetes or pre-diabetes. The average American drinks about 190 liters of sugary drinks a year, he said, consuming 17.5 kilos of extra sugar.

Another bill would ban coupons on sodas, which, according to Oakland's General Assembly Rob Bonta, could result in "the soda is actually cheaper than water. in a bottle".

Republicans in the House suggested that these proposals were the last attempt of the Democrats to establish a government.

"What's the next step – to criminalize pizzas over 18 inches?", They said in a statement.

The proposals include a tax on sweetened beverages that would be approved by a two-thirds vote. Health groups are also circulating petitions to impose a 2 cents per ounce tax on the 2020 ballot.

Several measures have failed several times in previous years, including the tax proposed by Richard Bloom MP Santa Monica. He said the details of his proposal are still under development, but a tax of 2 cents an ounce would raise $ 2 billion a year for prevention efforts.

The beverage industry claims that such a tax would be more detrimental to low-income people and would have unclear health benefits, citing comments from the state's non-partisan legislative analyst.

The President and CEO of the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Julian Canete, criticized the package on behalf of the beverage industry, claiming that soda makers had already done a lot to discourage overconsumption. He promoted better health education in relation to a tax.

The American Beverage Association, which represents Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and others, said it is committed to an "unprecedented commitment to fighting obesity" by offering more choices and larger portions. small ones with less or no sugar.

In addition to baking soda, lawmakers said they target sports drinks, sugary coffee and tea, as well as other sugary drinks.

Last month, the US Circuit's 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a San Francisco city ordinance imposing health warnings on soft drinks, arguing that it contravened the constitutionally protected commercial rhetoric.

The judges also stated that the soft drink warnings were not based on established facts, citing the Food and Drug Administration's statement that sugar is "generally recognized as safe" when it is "safe". it is not consumed in excess.

Senator Bill Monning of Carmel likened his proposed warning label to that required for cigarettes and said he would welcome a court challenge.

At the same time, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association and other opponents of tobacco have announced their support for legislation limiting the sale of products flavored tobacco, including menthol cigarettes and candies and fruit flavored electronic cigarettes.

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