ABA Files Lawsuit Against Warning Labels on Sugary Drink Ads in S.F.
On Friday, the American Beverage Association filed a lawsuit against the city of San Francisco, alleging that first-of-its-kind ordinances requiring health warnings on advertisements for sugar-sweetened beverages violates the First Amendment, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the ordinance in June (Green, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/24). Observers say San Francisco could be the first city in the U.S. to require health warnings on advertisements for soda and other drinks.
The ordinance calls for health warnings to be placed on advertisements for energy drinks, iced teas, sports drinks, sodas and vitamin waters that have more than 25 calories from sweeteners per 12 ounces.
The warnings would alert consumers that the drinks could contribute "to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay."
The warning labels would be placed on ads within the city limits, including:
- Taxis; and
The board also approved measures to:
- Ban ads for sugar-sweetened beverages on city property; and
- Ban city departments from buying sugary beverages (California Healthline, 6/10).
Details of Lawsuit
According to the Chronicle, the ABA is challenging the ordinances that:
- Require warnings on ads for sugary drinks; and
- Prohibit ads for sugary drinks on city property.
The lawsuit is not challenging the ban on the use of city money to buy soda.
According to the lawsuit, "The city is free to try to persuade consumers to share its opinions about sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, the city is trying to ensure that there is no free marketplace of ideas, but instead only a government-imposed, one-sided public 'dialogue' on the topic -- in violation of the First Amendment."
ABA is joined in the lawsuit by the:
- California State Outdoor Advertising Agency; and
- California Retailers Association (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/24).