Health, education, and community leaders met at the Chinatown YMCA to discuss Proposition E, San Francisco’s proposed soda tax.
Supervisor Eric Mar, one of the lead sponsors for Proposition E, expressed his concern for the growing Type 2 diabetes epidemic, with soda and sugary beverages as a leading cause. “I want to help people have a better understanding of why Proposition E is on the ballot, and why this is specifically about soda and sugary beverages,” said Supervisor Mar. “These drinks are having a disproportionately negative impact on public health,” he continued. “Mexico’s soda tax is working. Consumption of soda and sugary beverages is down 10% and people are making healthier choices.
SFMS was one of the earliest endorsers of Proposition E and has continued to support Yes on E. San Francisco Medical Society President Lawrence Cheung, MD has testified in favor of Proposition E at numerous hearings and community meetings, explaining how our bodies process liquid sugar differently. “The liquid sugar in these sodas and sugary beverages isn’t processed the same way by our bodies as foods,” he explained. “For Asians Americans, the risk for Type 2 diabetes is higher than the general population. We need both education and incentives for people to make healthier choices.” He continued, “Type 2 diabetes impacts every system in the body, and is a major health public health problem.
San Francisco Board of Education Commissioner Rachel Norton expressed how the revenue from Proposition E would benefit children. “Proposition E will bring more physical education to our schools, and help expand the new school lunch program that is getting healthier foods— that kids will eat—onto their plates, and so much more.
A tax of $0.02/oz on the distribution of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages in San Francisco is estimated to generate up to $54 million annually, which will be legally dedicated to fund active recreation and nutrition programs in schools, parks, and recreation centers; food access initiatives, drinking fountain and water bottle filling stations; and dental health services.
Researchers at UCSF have been at the epicenter of the research linking sugary beverages with the diabetes epidemic and other health ailments, as well as the role of tax policy in reducing consumption. In addition to SFMS, many local organizations have endorsed Yes on E including the North East Medical Services, San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium, California Dental Hygienists’ Association, San Francisco Dental Hygienist Society, San Francisco Dental Society, San Francisco Board of Education, San Francisco PTA, United Educators of San Francisco, San Francisco Food Bank, Parents for Public Schools, and many more.