CHICAGO (AP) — Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is throwing his support behind a Chicago-area sweetened beverage tax by financing an ad campaign backing the levy.

Bloomberg's charity announced Thursday that $2 million will be spent on television, radio and digital ads. The ads will contend the tax could help fight "the epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes" and support Cook County hospitals and health programs.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle broke a tie vote in November to approve the tax. She initially contended she was motivated by the health concerns voiced by Bloomberg. She has since acknowledged it was more to raise revenue.

Preckwinkle has faced increasing criticism since the tax went into effect this month.

A court challenge by the Illinois Retail Merchants Association failed to prevent its collection.