San Francisco city officials have voted in favour of a proposal to put health warnings on ads for sugary sodas and other drinks owing to their perceived contribution to obesity, diabetes and other health problems.

Under the ordinance, drinks with more than 25 calories from sweeteners per 12 ounces will be required to display the warnings. Warnings are also required for sports and energy drinks, vitamin waters and iced teas that have more than 25 calories.

However, milk and 100% natural fruit and vegetable juice drinks will not be required to comply with the new rule.

Before the ordinance is turned into a law, it will need to pass another vote before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors next week, following which, it will be forwarded to the mayor.

If accepted, San Francisco will become the first place in the US to pass such a law.

The Wall Street Journal quoted a San Francisco supervisor Scott Wiener as saying: "This is a looming health crisis for our health-care system and for insurance rates. We hope that other communities consider what we’re proposing and consider adopting it."

Billboards and other ads will have to carry the wording: "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco."

Printed ads within city limits will also need to put the warning. However, the law would not apply to ads appearing in newspapers, circulars, broadcast outlets or the Internet.

Image: The law will be the first of its kind in the US if approved. Photo: courtesy of Naypong.