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. Matt

    Personal regulation and responsibility should be a reasonable approach to prevent overreach of the government. However, It is evident that in American culture (as well as many other locations worldwide) a huge portion of the population has no interest in taking accountability for their health and well being. The result is that as these people give in to every craving and whim (including huge amounts of empty calories in soft drinks, etc...) and develop a sedentary lifestyle, they find themselves with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and increased risk for basically every other ailment (including many forms of cancer). These individuals lose the ability to function in a productive way and become a drag on the economy and healthcare system to the tune of tens of billions of dollars annually. As children take parents as examples and technology makes laziness easier and more fun, the problem of obesity is growing at increasing rates (having tripled in the past 3 decades).

    I personally don't know if the government is the answer, but something needs to be done. Perhaps working with food manufacturers to reformulate and improve nutritional value of their food is a more palatable approach than telling the consumer what they can and cannot buy. I have a feeling that many people would still willingly opt for the junk food even if it required a little more effort on their part. I can see people going to 2 or 3 places to get their giant sugary sodas or refilling the cup repeatedly. It really is a terrible crisis that needs to be addressed.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      They should ban sports for kids because they can develop disabilities especially playing games like football and then they just become a drain on society.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      No, you don't get to tell me what to do. This isn't Nazi Germany. Hands off my junk food.

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

      I gree, these same who demand to drink and eat as they want, will later demand we take care of them when their health declines. I don't like the gov't in my life, but I also don't to have to pay the health cost for people who are unwilling to take care of themselves

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

      Unfortunately, universal health care is step 1 in the government taking control of every aspect of your life. This removes ALL accountability for your personal choices and actions. It also allows the gov't to dictate what you do for the "greater good".

      May 31, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack Davis

      The age of infantile, pap-fed American meatpotatos has begun! BRING ON THE DIAPERS! VIVA LA IDIOCRACY!

      May 31, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I completely agree with what you're saying. However, I feel that government regulation is compulsory to get this done. In order to make beverages (or really anything) healthier, it takes lots of R&D and generally more expensive products...this costs money. Corporations certainly have a right to maximize their profits, and I don't blame them. Why would they voluntarily agree to take on more expense when it hurts their bottom line? There's a pretty strong direct correlation between poverty and obesity – healthy food costs more.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • JokerJones

      Matt, I'm sorry that fat people upset you. But did it ever occur to you that many people that are considered "obese" are happy just the way they are. When did we in America suddenly decide it was our responsibility as a society to dictate everything that an individual can do. It's my body, not yours. If I want to drink 22 oz sodas and eat big macs until I explode, its not up to you to try and "help" me out. Mayor Bloomndurbust should be working on bringing jobs back to the city, not how big a soda someone can buy.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. Whome

    Whats next you can't fart because it releases greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere?

    May 31, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. Thomas

    People have no idea how to eat healthy. Then they expect the rest of us to pick up the tab in insurance costs, illness and other things just because they want their drug – sugar!

    May 31, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Areacode612

      Dumbest post of the day. Like overweight people don't pay insurance too.

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

      Most people know exactly what they are putting in their body, and do it because they want to. I's not your responsibility to tell them otherwise. Lets try this, you worry about you, and let me worry about me.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  4. WhyKnot

    why not ban smoking, which is something that affects passerbys more than people think. everyday I see people walk by other people taking smoke breaks on the narrow sidewalks and inadvertently blow smoke in people's faces. sugary drinks? come on...gotta be kidding.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • dentont

      I don't think you get out much. that pretty much has happened

      May 31, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    Well, when mayors start banning soda, then I guess it's time to start watering the tree of liberty.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. hudson5585

    Ban sugary soft drinks and legalize marijuana now!!!

    May 31, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • hillbillynwv

      Amen to that!

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

      Legalizing pot and banning unhealthy food would be a disaster. What would you do when you got the munchies? 🙂

      May 31, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. krehator

    While he might be correct assuming that overeating causes obesity, he is crossing the line, and trampling on liberty. Is this guy a closet case Socialist?

    Is he so stupid to not understand people could just buy more smaller drinks, or that many places have free refills? Apparently common sense is not a qualification to be Mayor of NYC. His little ban would accomplish nothing but tell people how to live.

    Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Remember that Mayor?

    May 31, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • YoBabyYoBabyYoBabyYo

      "Trampling on liberty" by banning enormous sugary drinks? What an exaggeration. Where do you people come from?

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

      I think it's just an attempt by the mayor to get people to buy more sodas, thus feeding the sugar companies even more. That MUST be it. The mayor was no doubt paid a bribe by the soda companies to do this. After all, he couldn't be so stupid as to think that this would really work in curbing obesity or that this would actually FORCE people to drink less sodas? It won't. They'll just buy more small drinks.

      Sugar is terribly unhealthy and so addictive in even bread form. Eat bread, crave a soda. Drink a soda, and want more soda, and more and more. Then you crave more bread and it just keeps going. Yet people are going to have to reign themselves in.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. grace

    So just buy 2?
    That way they get sales tax on 2 items instead of 1... That's what this is all about...

    May 31, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. YoBabyYoBabyYoBabyYo

    This is a sensible measure. Only lunatics who start from the premise that ANY rule of government is pure, Satanic evil will complain about it.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • krehator

      Spoken like a Socialist.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • El Giblet

      Yeah... yer probably right. Government employees need to keep busy making laws to protect their phoney-baloney jobs.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • El Giblet

      It's a perfectly sensible measure if you are a leftist, always touting that you're, 'a victim' and that government should be leading you around by the nose, picking up your mess and feeding you. Good luck in that reality.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. T. T.

    Don't ban it, just tax it. We do it with cigarettes, why not unhealthy soft drinks as well? Make a profit off of bad behavior at least.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. oh you shouldn't have said that!

    legalize marijuana now!!

    May 31, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. anon

    This isn't going to work. It won't curb obesity one single bit. NO govt. regulation on food ever has. The fight against obesity is going to have to come from the people themselves. It is going to have to start at the grassroots level, with folks not being so gluttonous, or lazy, AND making the right eating choices for themselves and family. Only then will we see a dent in the obesity problem.

    Also, in a strange sort of way, I think it has to do with declining morals and sense of spirituality. These things are the bedrock, or foundation of any society. When they weaken, then the whole system gets wobbly and chaotic.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. Lindalou

    And by sitting still for hours at a time with a smartphone, computer, or TV. Inactivity is more of a problem that what we eat. If you don't expend more calories than you take in, they just add to your girth. Oh my, now he'll have to mandate everyone belonging to a health club.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  14. Areacode612

    Hunh? Too much government!

    May 31, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. Yankee Skeptic

    Just more moronic, nanny-state Big Government courtesy of the looney liberal progressive morons.

    But New York City voters deserve the Government that they elect.

    May 31, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
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