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. Doobie doo

    Banning big sodas would result in more benefits to businesses but a whole lot more trash. Government should crack on the companies that put sugar in our food.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. hmm

    Base this off of decreasing numbers of smokers when it is harder for them to buy cigarettes. Or areas where cigarettes are highly taxed, or you can't smoke anywhere indoors, such as Arizona, they have a lower number of smokers compared to states with more freedom. And therefore fewer incidences of smoking-related illnesses.

    It will help out society, because if something isn't readily available, we will be less-likely to drink so much soda.
    A nanny state is what we need, sadly. It has been proven, look at official research.

    June 1, 2012 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
    • diane

      It is called FREEDOM OF CHOICE. It does not matter if it's good for me or bad for me. It is my choice. IF I choose to smoke, drink 32 oz. of cola, watch television, talk, write, walk, sit, IT SHOULD BE MY CHOICE not the government. This is not about HEALTH. It's about a politicians decision to take a "safe" topic -make a statement-in which he can't lose, because we all know drinking too much soda isn't healthy. WE NEED him to tell us that. We NEED cola drink sizes to be a major political topic, takes the light off lesser things, such as crime rate, unemployment, crooks on wall street, our rights to collective bargain. HOWEVER< in the end it will be a MAJOR political issue because somehow, like the tobacco companies, these same politicians will have to vote to subsidize cola companies due to their losses. I said it with no smoking in bars–IF YOU don't like it don't do it. DON"T let government tell you that YOU aren't capable of making the decision your self. We haven't lost our RIGHT to Speak (yet not totally anyway) but we ARE losing our right to think. Think about it,...while you legally can.

      June 1, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
    • StephanieZie

      I would sooner eat myself into an early death through my own lack of self-control and intelligence than have somebody else tell me what I can and can't consume.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. justathought

    It is a shame that politicians want to control how people should live healthily, when it can not control its self.

    Consider how the government has completely ignored GMO's and lined their pockets with lobbyist"s money.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. justathought

    I'm not for unhealthy food, which some of it does contribute to obesity a well as other health related diseases, but if the government would ban all unhealthy food, the grocery stores would be half empty.

    June 1, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • tim

      Good. Let's try that.

      June 1, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sharon

    Land of the free and home of the brave? As an American, I believe this is going a bit too far. I like drinking water, but I also like sweet drinks, especially whenever I go out for dinner. Everyone should have the freedom to decide what they eat and drink. You don't know what or how much a person drinks after they get home. Are we now going to be monitored as to how much "beverages" we can purchase at the grocery store? Let's get real. What is the real reason behind this attack. Don't we have bigger problems in this country?

    June 1, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. I -like-soft-drinks

    In my humble opinion it can be regarded as action against the Consition: I have the right to persuit happiness. I am getting mine through soft drinks, I am not obese, it is my own choice and I am responsible for it. Why not to give out membership to sport places instead of banning? Or banning public transportation so that people would be "more active" (joke)

    June 1, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Scott

    1. Research has proven that Sodas are not a primary contributor to obesity. 2. For every person choice we turn over to government today, we will lose multiple more in the future. Example: we allowed taxation and laws on tobacco for the betterment of society, now sodas, what's next? I don't think most people realize that this is a snowball effect. We must take responsibility for our selves in order to keep goverment out of our lives.......

    June 1, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. angel

    we need freedom of choice-if people want to drink these crappy drinks, eat crappy food, not take care of themselves–OR if some people just want to drink these now and then in moderation-its their choice!!!!! this is silly – there are all sorts of ways people get "obese" not just from sugary drinks–it would be better to push some sort of health and wellness program-fitness is important for all people-but again you can't force them to do anything they dont want to do-i know there are churches, and other places that offer free fitness classes-maybe if advertised more people would attend–BUT bottom line-dont take away freedom of choice! EVER -its almost all we have left in America–government is killing us!!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lori

    This story just makes me sick - I hope my insurance will cover stomach anomolies from government disgust!

    Doesn't our government have better things to do than police what we're putting in our mouths, how we're driving, etc? The government simply needs to tell the insurance companies that they need to eliminate the "pre-existing" riders and start focusing on the "current risky behaviors."

    Here's a novel idea: these issues of "health" should be between a person's insurance company and the person; i.e., if you are 1. overweight–here's the insurance we can offer you; 2. obese–here's the insurance we can offer you....etc.
    If you drive a car without insurance and are injured in an accident, the other guy's insurance will not cover you! (poor people should have some sort of exception that covers them at a reduced rate or via government aid, or whatever)
    If you ride a motorcycle without a helmet and you have a major head injury we don't cover that.
    If you're obese we will only cover health expenses insofar as you are going to exercise classes and healthy eating classes, too
    If you smoke, we don't cover cancer
    ETC, ETC.

    If this were an issue of NO INSURANCE I think that people would respond.

    ALSO: Why not require the RICH COMPANIES to start offering reasonably priced SMALLER options instead of BIGGIE sizes??!! As a woman, I find most of the options offered to be TOO MUCH FOOD. I often order the child's portion because that is sufficient, considering the size of the children's portions!!!!

    Why does our government feel the need to insert themselves as the "protectors" of all? THEY ARE NOT!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Lori

    P.S. Mayor Bloomberg should be focusing on getting his citizens JOBS - maybe they wouldn't be too fat from sitting on their asses and going to McDonald's because they can't afford anything else!

    June 1, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  11. mary

    I am sorry, but people need to take controll of their own lives. Stop blamming others for how fat they are, or how they got sugar problems from junk food. All places that offer pop offer water too. Grow up america and take responisablitiy for your own actions.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. mrsmass

    Bloomberg couldn't be more of a hypocrite.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. dazzle ©

    I've already opined on Bloomberg and his ridiculous attempt at moderating sugary beverages. Has he also investigated the deleterious effects that artificially flavored beverages can have on some people that has sensitive brain wiring. I am one of them and know the problems that can erupt.

    June 1, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. Scottish Mama

    Is this socialism? lol Government in our business? Oh, cannot be, he *is* a republican and they don't do

    June 1, 2012 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. Diane

    So they can't get a small drink and then another one and another one? What happens when go home and drink a whole 2 liter? Shouldn't it be up to the individual. I wouldn't drink a big gulp anyway cause the lack of bathroom.s

    June 1, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
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