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Taking Aim on a Can of Soda

Labels and taxes on sugary drinks?

By Consumer Bob
|  Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014  |  Updated 7:14 AM PDT
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A state proposal would require warning labels on all sugary drinks. NBC 7's Consumer Bob looks at how that might change shoppers' habits.

A state proposal would require warning labels on all sugary drinks. NBC 7's Consumer Bob looks at how that might change shoppers' habits.

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It's not a good time to be a can of soda in California.

Proposals on both the state and local level would change the way a sugary soft drink could be sold. 

In Sacramento, a state lawmaker is asking for soft drinks to carry warning labels, like you see on a pack of cigarettes.  The soft drink warning label would tell shoppers that drinking sugary drinks contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

On the local level, two San Francisco supervisors want to add a $.02 tax for every ounce of sugar drinks.  The money would go to health and fitness programs.

But do people really think sodas are healthy? Marty Yelberton was shopping in Point Loma Monday and said, "Everybody knows that sugar leads to obesity.  So if it's just that little sticker then I don't think we need to put that on."

Grocery shopper Kevin Clark agrees.

"I think the public is knowledgeable enough to know," he said.

Christina Riehl with Children's Advocacy Institute is in favor of the label on soda but is concerned that people will ignore the warning. 

"When you see them everywhere you start to tune them out," said Riehl.

She points out that handing a child a sugar drink or soda is often similar to giving them a candy bar.  The warning label could make parents thinking twice about what they give their children.

The soft drink industry is already posting calorie counts on the front of many cans and bottles and argues that only 4 percent of the average person's calorie intake comes from sodas.

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