According to a directive issued by Mayor Gavin Newsom, all calorically sweetened beverages are banned from being sold in any vending machine on city property in the entire city of San Francisco. The directive includes non-diet sodas, sports drinks and artificially sweetened water. Juice must contain 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice with no added sweeteners. Even diet sodas are not completely safe from the ban. According to the directive, diet-sodas must not exceed 25 percent of the items offered in the machines.
The ban comes as a part of Newsom’s plan to combat obesity and improve health in San Francisco — an initiative that Michelle Obama has been working on at a national level.
“There’s a direct link between what people eat and drink and the obesity and health care crises in this country.” – Tony Winnicker, Newsom spokesman. “It’s entirely appropriate and not at all intrusive for city government to take steps to discourage the sale of sugary sodas on city property.”
The directive encourages replacing the sugary drinks with healthier options such as water, dairy milk, soy milk, rice milk, etc. Along with the sugary drink ban, the directive is also focused on limiting the fat, sugar and calorie content of vending machine snacks.
Although the city has banned the sale of certain beverages on its own property, San Franciscans still reserve the right to purchase and consume sugary drinks at will. The ban just means that there will be fewer options for them to do so. It will be interesting to observe the impact this directive actually has on the beverage culture and consumption in San Francisco as well as to see how many other cities around the country follow suit.