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. Mark Rainwater

    It is true, Americans can no longer think or do for ourselves and need the government to take over our lives and make all of our decisions for us. What happened to personal accountability? You have a choice in what you buy and feed your family; no one is putting a gun to your head. It is time for Americans to man up.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ed

    I'm not disputing peole should drink less surgary drinks and eat better. But when did it become the governments job to force this behavior on us. I have the ability to control my own decisions and I am responsible for the bad discisions I make on any subject. But my body is my body. If they can tell me I can't drink a large surgary drink then they can tell women they can or must have an abortion.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Enoch

      That isn't what they are telling you. They are telling establishments that they can't sell drinks larger than 16 oz. You can still drink more if you really feel the need.

      May 31, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      NO they are telling me what I can drink and how much this is the first step just like with seat belts started with the driver the frant seat only now everong. Or cigarettes first seperate section then no restaruants now not even bars. Its the same thing. Its starts with limiting sizes for sale then amount you can drink.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Tex71

      No, Ed, your logic is backwards. You are implying that the same laws govern soft drinks and abortions, which is patently ridiculous; you also imply that prohibition equals coercion (banning harmful products equals forcing people to submit to medical procedures), which is completely illogical. Are you aware how many of your tax dollars pay for health care that would be unnecessary if drug pushers like "X"-Cola were better regulated and more heavily taxed? Your philosophy of "personal responsibility" was, I believe, first formulated by a guy named Cain: "Am I my brother's keeper?" In a civilized society, we are our brothers' keepers.

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

    How about we just put a scale in front of the counter and depending on your weight you get to order off a restrictive menu! Good Grief! How about a little personal responsibility! They will let you order a super large milkshake or beer but not soda? This is nothing more then a 'feel good' measure for the mayor and the food nazis. Personally, I prefer water or diet drinks but I think this is just a major over-reach of government.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • jason

      No restrictions on fancy restaurants, right? Fat people don't eat there, right?

      May 31, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. snowdogg

    "soda is not driving the obesity rates"

    It isn't helping... but I do agree that banning larger sizes is over-the-top. People need to take responsibility for their individual actions, on all levels.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Tex71

      I take it that you support immediate revocation of drug laws and deregulation of crack dealers. Caveat emptor, right?

      May 31, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. Willie12345

    Liberty is being eroded by big government, ever so slowly.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      I know. They keep telling woman you have to be a baby carrier no matter what and telling you that you cannot marry people whose genitalia are the same as yours.

      May 31, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Tex71

    When corporate greed and public weakness combine in a perfect storm of illness and consequent expenditure, there is a point at which the government's job is to step in and save the public. 100 years ago, the meat packing industry screamed about government intervention too, when Americans were dying like flies from unsafe meat products. Freedom? Yeah, freedom to make money selling things that kill people. The Beverage Ass'n is no different morally from the Mexican drug cartels. OK, Pepsi and Coke don't have kill squads driving around shooting each others' deliverymen – but the main activity is the same: make billions of dollars pushing a product to which weak people become addicted and which eventually costs them their health and/or their life; then use a small portion of the profits to buy corrupt government representatives to hide behind.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      one could easily make the same argument about alcohol and salt. lets ban those too. then the government can decide we have to many people so one child per family. then to many bad tv shows so only government approved shows. then what?

      May 31, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. sothen...

    And people call the President a Socialist?

    May 31, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Robert

    This is a joke. The government can't babysit adults. If we start down this path, there will be no end in sight...

    May 31, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. srichey321

    People are getting fat, the health care system is severely impacted and similar arguments were made about cigarettes at one time. Sugar is addicting and it does kill - i'm sure people will want to use the "nanny state" argument, but it doesn't change the fact we have an obesity epidemic that works out quite well for corn syrup companies and big pharma.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jon

    While I agree with the ban in theory, this is just another one of those symbolic gestures that really does not mean anything in the long run. First and foremost, the fact juice is exempted makes it worthless. Juice can have as much sugar and calories as pop. It is only perceived to be better than pop because it is juice but the main ingredient is still the same... High Fructose Corn Syrup. Only thing changing is carbonation and the flavor being more natural.

    Second, places like Burger King etc. have free refills when you dine is as do most dining establishments so what is to stop patrons from just getting 32, 48, or 64 oz of pop?

    Ultimately preventing obesity is a personal decision. Yes the food industry has contributed to it with things like Trans Fat, factory farming lessening nutrients in foods, etc. but no one holds a gun to a person's head making them eat/drink the crap.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. Let them eat cake.

    Well that certainly flies in the face of "pursuit of hapiness" doesn't it.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sagebrush Shorty

    Keep the drinks and ban Bloomberg.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  13. pjc722

    They want to ban sugary drinks?! NO they don't. Just like with cigarettes they see the potential to make more money in taxes. Along with this ban, I am sure they will start taxes the drinks heavier and that, of course, will increase their coffers.

    Government needs to STOP with this type of legislation.

    Cigarettes have been known for decades to cause cancer and death and other disease but for decades all we have done is allow the product to be on the market, limited the access to children under a certain age, and increased the taxes on the product that one would need 2 jobs to have the habit.

    Why isn't government banning cigarettes as opposed to soda? Show the public some respect and do the right job, not the tyrannical musings of a man who wants his name in lights, chapters written about him in history books, and an airport renamed for him!

    May 31, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Tex71

      Nobody is banning soda – did you bother to read the article? The idea is to regulate and tax the h#ll out of it, just like cigarettes – the consumption of which has plunged since the GOVERNMENT applied those policies to the tobacco industry, and faced the same kind of screeching about the personal freedom to die of lung cancer. If drug dealers had lobbyists like the beverage industry does, you would be hearing the same kind of arguments about crack cocaine and heroin. In Mexico, where the drug cartels have had an effective lobby for decades, you may observe the results of that policy.

      May 31, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. pj

    charliebean. This is exactly WHY we do not need more government. How can they tell me what is ok to eat and what isn't, when the Government is happily providing money to people via food stamps so they can buy more sodas and junk food at the store in a day than I provide for my family in six months? We have a government that, on the one hand, claims they want people to be healthier, so ideas for bans like this turn up. On the other hand, this same government is well aware that food stamp recipients are abusing the program, and they do nothing about it. Don't tell me how hard it is for someone to live on food stamps; I work retail and 98% of the people on food stamps are buying nothing but JUNK FOOD and then pulling out $100 bills to pay for their beer & cigarettes. THIS is the government you voted in!

    May 31, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Tex71

      The problem is not as stultifying as you suggest. Simply make food stamps invalid for junk food purchase, like they are for alcohol and tobacco. There. Feel better?

      May 31, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jody

    There needs to be a control with ebt cards that won't scan junk food. Then the government can have a say since they (we) are paying.

    May 31, 2012 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
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