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. Javier

    NY government should be focus on others MAJOR city problems and stop trying to control what people drinks \ eat. People are responsible for their own acts and if I want to drink X amount of soda it's my choice and my decision not the gov. decision. This is not going to address obesity as sugared-sweetened beverages are a small and declining part of American diet, this is an intrusive regulation. All energies should be put into public education of and promoting a balanced lifestyle with proper mix of diet and exercise rather than attempting to regulate consumption. Regards, Javier .

    June 1, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. bmac

    It's simple. Follow the money and you will find an answer. Governments in North American have been slowly losing tax revenue from cigarettes and gas consumption (with the acceptance of more fuel efficent cars). What is the next vice to tax.....sugary food. As an obese nation, we will by that chocolate bar if it is 75 cents or a dollar. It's the precursor to a sin tax, plain and simple.

    June 1, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Germana Desaint

      I guess the Health classes in high school failed the system.

      But please don't take away THE BIG GULP FROM THE STATUE OF LIBERTY Mayor Bloomberg? I hope it's okay with you that I buttered my toast this morning.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lee

    Aaahhh! I just got through SWIGGIN' DOWN an ICE COLD 20 oz.COKE CLASSIC to wash down the BARBEQUE BRISKET AND SAUSAGE PLATE THAT I'M EATING FOR LUNCH....It's good to be an AMERICAN in TEXAS ,MY FREEDOM ,MY RIGHT ,MY CHOICE......The New York Mayor must have been picked on a lot growing up............

    June 1, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • dozapolis

      As long as you don't have any and won't have any issues with your health from your poor eating habits more power to you.

      But as soon as you start incurring insurance claims and medical bills, unless you have private non-group life insurance, you're going to start costing everyone else. A major part of the reason health insurance increases is the increase in insurance claim costs.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CM

    1. People are free to choose what they drink. People will buy 2 /16oz and will get 32oz sugar rush instead.
    2. The government has to check first what they are feeding our children at the School cafeteria. Pizza, cheese sticks, chicken nuggets etc They said it is a balanced meal. It is not.
    3. Schools have removed recess in Schools other than Elementary. Increase PE in Schools. Kids need to be active.
    4. If I have a liquor store 3 blocks from my house does it mean I am going to become alcoholic?
    5. Very sad to see how the current government thinks that we are not smart enough to figure out where this is going. Sad sad...

    June 1, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  5. dozapolis

    While I don't think the government should tell you what to eat or drink; I do think the government should stop subsidizing corn farming and has a responsibility to protect its citizens in so much as to post warnings about poor eating habits.

    I support requiring calories to be posted, but banning sizes is silly.

    June 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kurt Atkinson

    The mayor is obviously takin gthings too far. When will government move away from trying to control and tax everything in our lives. This is exactly why our Founding Fathers revolted 240 years ago. They were upset over a 3 percent tax rate. Look at where we are now! It's absurd! Governent officials do anything they can to bring in money so they can spend vicariously .... I'm tired of it.

    June 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Michael

    My name is Michael and I work for Coca-Cola. Our products have a place in a balanced, healthy lifestyle, and our Company supports consumer choice. The people of NYC are much smarter than the New York City Health Department believes. We are transparent with our consumers. They can see exactly how many calories are in every beverage we serve. We have prominently placed calorie counts on the front of our bottled and cans and in NYC, restaurants already post the calorie content of all their offerings and portion sizes, including soft drinks. New Yorkers expect and deserve better than this. They can make their own choices about the beverages they purchase. We hope New Yorkers loudly voice their opinions about this arbitrary mandate. This is agenda-driven, not science-based. There is no gata backing the city's decision to target beverage packages larget than 16oz. Policy should be driven by facts, not agendas.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. really?

    Maybe it's time to take "land of the free" out of the National Anthem. This just goes to show how "free" we really are not anymore.

    June 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    The guv has no biz telling you what to imbibe but on the other hand, you have no biz drinking that crappola either...high fructose corn syrup is a major health drag on the rest of "US" that pay taxes. The best solution is to just ban high fructose corn syrup period!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. J.J. Bugs

    He should be banning face eating instead.

    June 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    Nutrition and physical education in schools are awful. Pizza, fried "chicken" nuggets, greasy burritos, french fries, etc. How about we start there?

    June 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. athiest

    Why do you idiots need a pound of sugar a day in your 32 and 64 oz sodas?
    If you want that much soda, trot – or roll – your fat selves down to the market and buy 2 liters.

    Being a fatty boom batty wastes gasoline in airplanes, cars, buses, and creates more pollution.
    Your health issues come out of my tax dollars. Your fatness is not a victimless crime to taxpayers!

    People getting government aid don't get the luxury of sodas and sweets! They need NUTRITION. That's what the food stamp program is there for, to provide healthy nutrition to families in need. Not to placate them with luxuries so they never feel like they have to work again.

    Crack that whip Bloomberg!!! Whip it. Whip it good!

    June 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. flarnkingsgargle

    King Corn. 'Nuff said.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dean

    I watch people oredr enough food for three then order a diet whatever or want to put Sweet and Low in there iced tea. The firsr thing people have to do is cut the fat intake. and get up off the couch and get some exercise. I don't think banning the sale of a large softdrink is the answer.Personally I oredr a small because you get free refills and I am not a softdrink junkie to begin with. It gives you rotten teeth,zits and makes you stay awake at night.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Drew Tse

    We spend so much money on Health Care, but think of it this way, we are AMMMMMUUUURRRRCA, land of the oversized man whales and fem whales. Much of that Health Care is spent that way. But by placing a ban on sugary drinks, the idea is a snow ball effect on eventually over portioned desserts, etc. By lowing the obesity rates, we lower our health care costs.
    1. Ban
    2. More bans.
    3. ???
    4. Profit.
    5. Bloomberg hailed as a smart man.

    June 1, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
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