“It’s insulting to the voters to suggest that the price of a can of Dr. Pepper or Coke is in any way comparable to getting evicted,” Wiener told me. “The price of Dr. Pepper is really not a factor in the city’s very real affordability crisis.
The other problem is that, while there are plenty of factors that affect obesity rates, there is good, solid science on the connection between sodas and diabetes. “Sodas and sugary drinks are linked to higher risks of diabetes even in people who aren’t obese,” Wiener noted.
What’s really going on here? The same thing that’s gone on every time someone has tried to regulate smoking or raise taxes on cigarettes. The industry knows that a tax on soda in San Francisco will absolutely translate into lower sales (as the father of a teenage boy, I have to say the prospect of that is entirely positive) and if the trend spreads, it could be a major financial blow to a multibillion-dollar business.
I’ve seen campaigns start early, but even by the standards of big money, campaigning against a November ballot initiative in March is pretty unusual. And it’s just the start.
When Mexico put a tax on sugary drinks, Coca-Cola sales dropped quickly. Trends start in California, and this one could cost the likes of Coke a whole lot of money. I wouldn’t be surprised if the campaign against the soda tax set new records for spending in San Francisco.