CORRECTED-San Francisco goes for soda tax vote amid battle on health warnings

jueves 23 de junio de 2016 11:19 GYT

(Corrects paragraph 2, 3 to show battle to introduce warnings ongoing)

By Chris Prentice and Luc Cohen

NEW YORK, June 23 (Reuters) - San Francisco is to have a second chance to vote on whether to tax soda after city officials this week added the measure to a November ballot that could expand the hotly-debated levy deeper into the Bay Area.

The move comes amid the city's legal battle with the soda industry to introduce warnings on advertisements for beverages with added sugar noting that they contribute to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

It would be the first U.S. city to introduce the labeling. A vote in favor of a San Francisco soda tax could add further strength to national moves to deter consumption of the sugary drinks, which have parallels with efforts to reduce tobacco consumption.

The ballot initiative comes almost two years after an earlier measure was unsuccessful and raises the prospect the tax will spread beyond nearby Berkeley, California, to much of the Bay Area's northern region, which economists say could heighten the policy's effectiveness.

Covering a broader area could alleviate a key concern about the success of soda taxes: that they can be undermined by cross-border shopping. In Berkeley, some research has suggested businesses did not fully pass along the tax for fear of losing customers to stores in neighboring cities.

The addition of the levy to the ballot on Tuesday came the day after Philadelphia's mayor signed a sweet beverage levy, making the city the largest in the nation with an ounce-based tax on sweet drinks.

An increasing number of U.S. government officials and nutritionists have proposed excise taxes on sugary beverages as a way to combat rising rates of obesity, diabetes and other health epidemics.   Continuación...