May 31st, 2012
07:35 AM ET

New York mayor wants big sugary drinks banned

If New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has his way, you won't be gulping down any 44-ounce Cokes at any of the Big Apple's eateries after March 2013.

Citing what he says is the contribution sugary beverages make to obesity in the U.S., Bloomberg says the buck, and the big Dr. Pepper, stops with him.

“Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, ‘Oh, this is terrible.’ New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something. I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do,” Bloomberg told The New York Times.

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His proposal would ban any the sale of any sugary beverage over 16 ounces in any of the city's restaurants, delis, movie theaters or even street carts, according to reports from New York.

Sales of sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces would still be permitted in supermarkets and convenience stores, according to the reports, including one from CNN affiliate NY1.

Bloomberg's ban would not apply to diet drinks, juices, milkshakes or alcohol, according to the NY1 report.

The New York City Beverage Association responded quickly Wednesday.

“There they go again. The New York City Health Department’s unhealthy obsession with attacking soft drinks is again pushing them over the top. The city is not going to address the obesity issue by attacking soda because soda is not driving the obesity rates. It’s time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity,” the group said in a statement, according to NY1.

According to the Times report, more than half of New York's adults are obese or overweight, and the city says more than 30% of its citizens drink at least one sweetened beverage daily.

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James Estrada, a 41-year-old truck driver from Queens, New York told the New York Post that it doesn't make sense to just ban large sizes for everyone.

“I’m 6-2, 230 pounds so . . . serving sizes don’t really apply to me,” Estrada told the Post. “I just know that’s not enough for me. I usually get a large because it’s a good deal and I take long trips. I don’t want to stop every hour for another drink.”

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If Bloomberg's plan goes through, there's still a way to drown yourself in Pepsi. The Times says while fast-food restaurants could only give out cups holding 16 ounces or less, free refills are allowed. So just plan for more trips to the soda bar.

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Filed under: Fast Food • Food • New York
soundoff (1,059 Responses)
  1. Joseph B

    So you can't order a 44oz Sweetened Iced Tea, but you can order a 44oz Long Island Iced Tea?

    May 31, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • pmn

      I thought this was the land of the free. I see more and more the government taking freedoms away by making a law. I hate surgary drinks and prefer water. Still that's choice. If the guy down the wants his 64 oz Coke...that's not my business its his choice.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. T

    So the mega burgers and greasy fries are ok – but the soft drink has to go ? Let's take a look at the whole/bigger picture and not one aspect of it. Sounds like a personal attack on the Beverage Industry more than actual concern ?

    May 31, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. Marc L from NY

    Live by the sword, die by the sword- that's my philosophy. The mayor has no right telling people what to eat, drink, or smoke. That's what fascists and communists do.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Julnor

    I assume he will also ban free refills, right? You see, the people must be controlled. They are mindless sheep who cannot make decisions for themselves. They must be told what to do. Freedom does not mean you are free to decide for yourself.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Itsall Tuna

      Apparently the people DO NEED to be told what to eat and not to eat by someone. The facts speak for themselves: So many people are obese and We The People are footing the medical bill for it. Except for the few who have legitimate medical conditions, obesity is a lifestyle choice. No one became obese overnight. It takes years of dedicated eating, drinking and sitting to accomplish their weight. The diabetes and chronic renal failure rate in this country as increased 900% since the 1970s. Dialysis costs taxpayers $65bn per year.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. Me

    So we are worried about soda ahead of cigarettes?? That makes a lot of sense..

    May 31, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • dnokc

      No, smokers are almost gone...fat people are NEXT! That's the American way!

      May 31, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • sean

      Cigs are pretty much banned in nyc anyway. Not allowed indoors anywhere. Not allowed in public spaces. Must be a certain distance away from doorways when smoking. So you're relegated to a small area.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @me,drinks can't be taxed at the rate cigarettes can.Many states consider cigarettes a luxury item and in a different category.They also believe obesity is growing at a faster rate than cigarette usage,which has been declining for years,also because of increasing state taxes.Obesity is also harder to cure and in some instances,more costly even with cancer a major side effect of cigarette usage.Insurance also doesn't cover problems with obesity,coverage for cancer is included.So if someone can't work and becomes disabled because of an obesity issue ,more than not they are given Medicaid or some other government assistance to take care of them long term or till the obesity issue is addressed medically and results when weight loss is achived releasing them to be active productive adults or children again.Taking them off the governments assistance programs they had recieved while obese ,most likely state granted,not federally..

      May 31, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. momo0828

    The mayor’s proposal is tax collection ploy and has nothing to do with obesity. If he is not going to ban ALL sugary drinks what is the point? If this proposal is passed I believe the so called “free refill” will disappear because those16 ounce cups were subsidized by something else. Restaurants will start charging for refills forcing those who really want to drink more than 16 ounces to pay for it thereby collecting additional tax revenue. This proposal is a nickel and dime approach to get additional tax revenue, which is what this proposal really is about. And if this proposal is passed and is successful other states will follow suit.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Melodykari78

      Spot on!

      May 31, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Itsall Tuna

      Nonsense. A graduated sugary drink tax would collect the revenues regardless of unit volume of the container – and we could go even bigger than a 44. How about a 64 in. waist. Dialysis for kidney failure costs us $65bn per year in this country. How about a dedicated tax to fund keeping people alive.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mike D

    Uh oh. This is a surefire way to alienate your conservative base, Mike...as soon as you take on fat people you are attacking liberty!

    May 31, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • peanut

      You need to look around...LOTS of fat diabetic liberals, too.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. pmn

    As I realize this is only one state and would trickle down to others. However, we are have bigger problems with the economy and they are worried about people's poor choice in their diet? Really? I think there are other ways to change their habits besides the government stepping and controlling it. Educate the public more. HERE IS A NOVEL IDEA LET GOVERNMENT CONTROL THE OIL COMPANIES AND KEEP THE PRICES FROM JUST ABOUT GOING TO $5 and then go down. Its a total joke what the oil companies are doing to the American's in this economy.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • hobie2515

      It's a global economy and the price of oil is set by it. You have no idea what you're talking about.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred Garvin

      It is amazing what uninformed chip-on-their-shoulder people like yourself are willing to lose in the name of settling a score. Whether you are republican or democrat, why in the world should some bumble head, inbred blueblood 1%'r be telling anyone what to drink, smoke eat or anything else. NewYorkers must be the most gullible bunch of sheep I have ever seen. Other than the working folks ( which most of NYC no longer has) The Bloomberg elite make the rest of the fly over states look like geniouses.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  9. Brian

    I'm as skinny as a rake and drink coke all day long. Man, this mayor is an idiot.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Melissa

    you can't have it both ways-either people are responsible or they are not; but to say the government shouldn't tell you what to do, but then demand free treatment for the mess you made is hypocrisy. Either it is (responsible) or it is not. But don't make poor decisions your whole life (out of freedom of choice) then ask for free healthcare to treat the consequences.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. matdaniel

    If the government of New York is serious about protecting the health of its citizens, then fried food should be banned as well.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. szark

    If Americans were intelligent enough to manage their own lives, things like this would never happen. Beam me up, Mitt!

    May 31, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. Fat Oprah

    Just ban fat people from going to fast food restaurants, that will solve the problem! 🙂

    May 31, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. HS

    Only the size of a cup will change...refill as many times as you want...

    May 31, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. Su Lynn

    What do you expect from a dictator who changed the law to stay in office – because we needed him? He brings new meaning to the word narcissism.

    Again, the government wants to make laws because 30% of New Yorkers drink "sugary" drinks every day! This used to be a Democracy – what happen to the rights of the other 70%?

    May 31, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
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