SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Health experts addressed San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors this week to say a soda tax would compel behavior changes in low-income neighborhoods and minority communities.
A hearing on the proposed controversial measure delved into the impact on sugar-sweetened beverages in poorer neighborhoods. The first medical expert to address the supervisor’s Government Audit and Oversight Committee on Thursday was Dr. Tomas Aragon from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
“[These] beverages cause cardiovascular disease, there’s no doubt. We know it causes unhealthy weight gain, metabolic dysfunction and we know it causes type 2 diabetes,” he said.
UCSF’s Dr. Akshay Govind said poorer neighborhoods tend to consume more soda.
“When you take someone with a small amount of money and make a change in price, you actually get a change in behavior,” he said. “What we need to do as a city is make the healthy choice the easy choice.”
Govind said revenue would be created from the tax, which could then go towards researching treatments of the causes of the chronic diseases.
The proposed 2-cent tax for every ounce of sugary beverage could raise $30 million annually and would make San Francisco the first city to impose such a tax.
The city’s soda tax debate goes back before a supervisor’s committee.
August 1st is the deadline for the tax to be placed on the November ballot.