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. ricardo1968

    So this proposal bans large drinks where they generally aren't served anyway. Looks like New York City is about appearing to do something, while doing nothing. Pretty soon the large soda market will attract the attention of criminal gangs. And here I thought we were seeing the folly of making illegal something that half the population wants.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. krozar

    Land of the free refills!

    May 31, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Traymig34

    Not saying that I agree the government should be involved with ones drink size decision unfortunately society has caused it to come to this. It is obvious that a large percentage of people cannot and do not make the right decision for themselves and their families when it comes to nutrition – if they did, the U.S. obesity rate wouldnt be nearly as large as it is. Being overweight/obese causes numerous other health problems and in most cases increases the need for medical treatment and the amount of medical expenses over ones lifetime. Who pays for this? WE ALL DO! We cannot continue on the current path – if we do, the country will go broke caring for the obese. At least he is doing SOMETHING which is more than I can say for others. Just think, if people actually cared more about their own health and food intake, we wouldn't even have to have this discussion!

    May 31, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • gager

      Government needs to get out of medicine as well. Control leads to more control. We all die in the end.

      May 31, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Scarls

      The obesity issue is far more complicated than simply a matter of personal responsibility. And if soda consumption is truly causing such a rise in obesity levels, then we should just ban the stuff and be done with it.

      Do some research on BPA and BADGE and you'll start to understand why the obesity rates are skyrocketing - even among children.

      Of course, everyone should eat balanced meals and get adequate amounts of exercise. I'm not trying to make excuses for those who choose not to do that - but the chemical exposure in our food is affecting our metabolism and causing the age of the onset of puberty to decline. It is wreaking havoc on our endocrine systems and we are probably being affected in ways that we won't even discover for decades. That should warrant the mayor's attention rather than trying to ban large drinks in restaurants which will do absoultely NOTHING to help the situation.

      People want it to be a black/white issue with simple answers. It quite frankly isn't.

      May 31, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Tamara

      While your point is logical and I agree with you in theory, it's an illogical argument at the same time. Requiring people to take a few extra trips to the soda refill machine is doing something all right, it's requiring them to take a few extra steps during the day. I guess, technically, that's a bit more exercise than they would normally get. Is it going to do anything to curb their desire for soda or make them drink less? Absolutely not. We don't need more useless legislation on the books that does nothing to solve the problem. Furthermore, diet soda (fake sugar) and sugary juices are just as bad as real soda!

      Furthermore, we are exposed to elements on a daily basis that we cannot personally control - all contribute to healthcare costs. This happens through the air we breath, the clothes we wear, the products we use, the water we drink and pesticides we consume even through healthy food we eat - the list goes on and on.

      One tangible thing that can be done is to make junk food expensive and healthy food inexpensive. This would go a long way in encouraging people to eat healthier. But this won't happen because people (companies are people you know), get far too rich peddling unnecessary junk.

      With regard to healthcare: a single payer healthcare system would greatly lessen our burden in this country and allow us to better afford a healthy society. It would take our healthcare costs down from just under $8K per person to about $3K annually. But then the healthcare industrial complex wouldn't get as rich, so don't hold your breath on this happening either.

      May 31, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. cigarman

    I have never bought one of the large drinks that Bloomberg is talking about, but him wanting to ban someone from buying them is a very huge mistake. If we in America are going to ban large drinks, this is just one more step in losing our freedoms. This Bloomberg guy should be thrown out of office just for wasting time on a non issue. The people of New York had better cancel his ticket very soon. If that is all the Mayor has to do, they don`t need him.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. DemWhisperer

    The largest source of salt consumtion in NYC comes from pizza, hotdogs and chinese food. We need to ban all of these in NYC.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
    • gager

      Salt is not a problem, stupidity is the problem.

      May 31, 2012 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ray

    Sure. Get rid of that fat inducing soft drink, but please, please, please, don't take those skinny milkshakes away. The whole premise of Coke and Pepsi causing obesity is idiotic.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. SearchingForAnAtheistExtremist

    I propose a compromise – those who want to make the choice to have a soda the size of their torso, must first undergo an anal probe ultrasound.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jim

    We are obviously doing such a wonderful job of being accountable for our own health without government intervention:

    "A study in Pediatrics revealed diabetes and prediabetes rates among young people ages 12 to 19 increased from 9% in 2000 to 23% in 2008." USA Today 5/20

    May 31, 2012 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  9. madmaninthemiddle

    I often disagree with conservatives who seem to be against every regulation. At the most extreme they see every environmental or consumer protection rule as a direct assault on personal liberty.

    But this IS a matter of personal choice. No Mayor, this is not what the people want you to do. How do I know? If people didn't want large soft drinks, they wouldn't buy them. Simple.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Fred

    WOW, New York City has out donw the California. Moonbeam (Jerry Brown) must be having a stroke, someone had a more stupid idea them him.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. m derosa

    Too much sun is bad for you that next? The Government will regulate how many hours of sun you're allowed to get each day. Too much red meat is bad for you.....steaks will be no bigger than 4 oz; Too much salt is bad .....Too much television is bad.....Bloomberg to limit TV watching to 3 hours/day.
    Why can't these politicians understand how ridiculous this is? Stay out of our personal lives. Create an atmosphere where businesses can create jobs.....keep the city clean.....that's about it.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. t


    May 31, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. RalphS

    While obesity is a problem in the U.S., banning large soft drinks is not the solution. Personal responsibility and accountability is, and that is what most people seem to lack. Also, for what its worth, the terms "liberal" and "conservative" are for the most part misused and/or misunderstood by so many folks. I wish people in general would think before they type away.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  14. tom

    But it is okay to drink (alcohol), drugs, go whoring, breath the stench filled air. Watch people deficate and urinate on the streets, but don't drink a sugar filled drink. This guys a more-on.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. Robert Winslow

    [quote]Bloomberg's ban would not apply to diet drinks, juices, milkshakes or alcohol, [/quote]

    Ok ban pop but allow milkshakes and juices? Seeing that milkshakes and jucies can have more sugar that pop I consider this idea stupid.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
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