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San Francisco sued over soda warnings, advertising ban

The American Beverage Association has sued the city of San Francisco, claiming new legislation requiring health warning labels on sugary beverages and prohibiting advertisements of them on city property violates the First Amendment.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports the association filed the lawsuit on Friday.

The lawsuit says 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."

The city's Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in June to approve an ordinance that requires health warnings on ads for sugary drinks. The measure requires those warnings be placed along ads on billboards, buses, transit shelters, posters and stadiums.

The label would read: "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay."

One of the bill's authors, Supervisor Scott Wiener, argued that the legislation is needed to help inform citizens that, "these are not just harmless products that taste good, that these are products that are making people sick."

San Francisco was the first U.S. jurisdiction to require health warnings on soda advertisements and to ban soda advertisements on publicly owned property.

In 2012, then New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg championed a citywide ban on sales of sugary drinks over 16 ounces in restaurants and other venues, but the measure was overturned in court before it could take effect.

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