Mass. mayor suggests ban on large drinks, free refills
June 20th, 2012
01:45 PM ET

Mass. mayor suggests ban on large drinks, free refills

A Massachusetts mayor is taking inspiration from a controversial New York City proposal to ban large, sugary beverages - and might even want to take it a step further.

Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis unveiled a proposal that would outlaw large-size sodas and other sugary drinks in area restaurants to the City Council on Monday.

She’s also suggesting that city officials consider banning free refills of sugary beverages, which would be a step beyond New York City’s plan.

“Our environment is full of way too many temptations,” Davis said. “This is one temptation that isn’t really necessary.”

The move comes on the heels of a proposal by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg earlier in the month to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in New York City. That ban would apply at restaurants, food carts and any other establishments that receive letter grades for food service, but it would not apply to grocery stores.

Both Bloomberg and Davis have cited rising rates of obesity and diabetes as reasoning for recommending the ban.

Davis’ proposal is in its earliest stages and doesn’t yet specify a drink size limit. The plan will move to the city’s Public Health Department, where a group of stakeholders - including elected officials as well as restaurant and business owners who would be affected by such a ban - will create a more clear-cut proposal, she said.

Cambridge, part of the Boston area, is home to more than 100,000 people as well as Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A manager of Cambridge restaurant Fire and Ice said a ban on free refills would affect the establishment. The $1.99 price for a 16-ounce soda there includes complimentary refills.

About half of Fire and Ice’s customers take the free-refill offer, manager John Eller said.

“I’m guessing if we don’t have free refills, we would have to charge less, so that would affect us,” Eller said. “There’s other ways to (promote health) other than forcing people not to take an extra cup of soda.”

Bloomberg’s office applauded the Cambridge proposal.

“We proposed it because it was the right thing to do for public health, and as we saw from the smoking ban, when NYC leads with bold solutions on tough issues, others will follow,” said Samantha Levine, a spokeswoman for the mayor.

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Filed under: Fast Food • Food • Health • Massachusetts
soundoff (754 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    It's so lovely to know that everyone up in Cambridge experiences absolutely no crime, the potholes are fixed, every citizen has a roof over their head, so that the mayor can focus on what is important to her consti tuents.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • waterford

      Government is suppose to serve its people but that has changed. The people now serve the government workers. Watch how you vote and for heaven sakes, get rid of the extreme left & right politicians.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. Pete

    @ Diane, God help us if any of your republican idiots see any more days after November,your Scott,Walker,Kacish ,they all have to go if we want a chance at some of our liberties,freedoms,you republicans are trying to take away,that's a fact that some smart republicans are also scared to see,their parties extinction.

    June 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Primal 4 Life

      LMAO delusional much. Democrats are far more intrusive than Republicans ever have been.

      Undeniable fact.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      That's OK! If republicans were to ever take over congress and the executive branch again, then just remember, don't retreat, reload! Its that simple! Anything Ted Nugent can do, liberals can do it better! After all, we won the f-ing civil war!

      June 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      That's OK! If republicans were to ever take control of congress and the executive branch again, just remember, don't retreat, reload! Anything Ted Nugent can do liberals can do it better. After all, we won the freeking civil war!

      June 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      That's OK! If republicans were to ever take control of congress and the executive branch again, just remember, don't retreat, reload!

      June 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • California

      The referendum from 2010 will continue and I prefer if you liberals didn't like it.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      You should be standing square in front of a mirror when saying that.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @Pete,I'd appreciate you using another name,minds been taken by me for years,thanks...

      June 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • jboHDrider

      Wow, are you out of your mind or what? Both parties are rife with folks trying to take away our rights and both parties agree with it. The problem here is that this Democrat like other Democrats is trying to take over our lives by legislation. Helmit laws, seatbelt laws, food laws, etc., those are all democratic/liberal pushes intended to tell us what to do.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      pete: "if we want a chance at some of our liberties,freedoms,you republicans are trying to take away"

      The irony in this statement is astounding.

      Especially since you're commenting on an article having to do with a liberal's ban on soda and free refills.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • coltdefender45

      So you think Republicans are taking away our freedoms. If Obama is re-elected probably the most important right that will disappear is the 2nd Amendment. After that, there will be a slippery slope consequence. Maybe freedom of speech should be after that, or maybe get rid of the 4th Amendment while they're at it. Government will be so large and in control of every aspect of your life you won't know what hit you. You wanted change, be careful you may get more change than you expected.
      FIRE HOLDER and IMPEACH OBAMA FOR THE FAST AND FURIOUS FIASCO thst got a federal agent murdered.

      June 20, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • waterford

      pete – what drugs are you on. These proposed bans are coming from liberals who are democrats.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      Pete must be a govt worker who is being asked to contribute a fair portion instead of receiving hands down, a free guaranteed pension, early retirement and free healthcare paid for by private sector workers. Maybe everyone should get their wages from the govt and the govt should control everything! As long as govt workers get it free it doesn't matter how those who are paying for it feel about it they should not have a free choice to change it. Wow, I just defined "collective bargaining"!

      June 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      how does limiting refills on soda bring back your liberties? Dems have tried to kill this country for 4 years. God help us if NOBAMA is re-elected.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • bamagrad03

      If you think Bloomberg is a real republican, you need to do your homework. Banning large sodas and other over arching nanny state themes aren't a republican thing either.

      June 28, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  3. malcolm

    these politicians need another job...with all people have to deal wit...please

    June 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alex in NJ

    This is disgusting. It really really is. Text book nanny state moves by people who think they know what's better for us than we do. This is the Left wing way of thinking. These people like Davis and Bloomberg have massive egos and believe only they and a select group of elites should determine how people live. It's beyond rude. I hope this woman is voted out of office whenever she is next up for re-election. Unfortunately, Big Brother Bloomberg got the rules changed. But hopefully he can't do so again and he's out in 2013.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cattdogg

    Duane - Bloomberg backs Romney, he's not a liberal, nor a democrat.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheGarderner

      Please kick him out of the office. The nation needs someone who is more mindful of more important things: EDUCATION, JOB, HEALTH CARE, HOUSING.. not soft drink. Don't hurt the business of soft drink, it's anti capitalism.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southerner01

      Bloomberg is an independent. But with his recent actions, I would classify him as a some sort of totalitarian, either socialist or fascist.

      June 28, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bernard Fife

    Good Lord! Now we are being told not only what we can eat and drink but how much. Government needs to find something productive to do with its time. This is absurd and outrageous!

    June 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheGarderner

      Vote them out. Many of these politicians are nothing but idiots. They need to learn to think better. Why don't they pay more attention of the food they feed our children in public school? That would be a better issue to discuss and improve. We don't need government to chose our lifestyle.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. FOM62

    I wonder if the same people who blame sugary drinks for the obesity problem and want to ban them instead of allowing people to use their own judgement would be as willing to ban alcohol in restaurants.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southerner01

      They should mandate free refills on alcoholic beverages!

      June 28, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. TriXen

    Big government strikes again!

    June 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheGarderner

      Actually it has nothing to do with big. It has lots to do with us allowing them encroaching our liberty. Vote them out please. Those who mandate laws which infringe our liberty should be voted out. We remember their face and make sure they never hold any office again. They are simply idiots.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bredboston

    Hi Duane,

    thanks for the mindless partisan response!

    Could you comment on the Republicans telling women that they have to get an invasive sonar (which is medically uncessary) before going in for an abortion. Oh wait, you want to tell us what to do all the time when it comes to our body.

    This is not a partisan (btw, Bloomberg has been both Dem and Repub), this is just politicians being stuipid

    June 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • TaraK

      Ultrasound has always and will always be necessary before an abortion. Even an "invasive" one. Which is more invasive, an ultrasound wand or a curette? Google both images.

      June 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |

      Don't kill babies and you won't need a sonagram. Simple.

      June 28, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Old Salt

      YES – this is a no brainer. Unless you are Superman or Superman with X-ray lives, how can you tell the state and what the fetus looks like. Oh forgot – YOU ARE MURDERERS without conscious, so what difference does it make.

      Stop the scan and just arrest this miserable, irresponsible and immoral animals.

      But then if it is okay to kill these babies, then why not you and your sadistic horde too?

      June 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Time to BOOT The Gov.

    Reply if you agree. It is funny how we as a country go into other countries to help provide freedoms to the people and stop out of control government leaders. But yet we are starting to let our own government turn into those same governments we aim to stop.

    The mayor of both NY and MA need to go. If this is the stuff you focus on at tax payer expenses, then you are not doing your job. Come on Mr. NY, you can't have that much time on your hands. I say it is time to ban our government from telling us what we can and can not do.

    Our politicians must go. (Dems and GOP alike)

    June 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • jenny1985foy

      yes they do!! Our goverment is an evil two-headed snake that has plunged this country so far into debt that we will never get out!! The whole problem with our country is fat pocketed life time politicians.... Put term limits congress and then put them back to work like everyday people after their term is up!!

      June 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grimaldas


      June 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheGarderner

      Yes, we should vote them out or it will be too late. Remove those who applaud liberty infringing mandates from their office.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Barry

    This is about as stupid as it gets! Get out of our personal business! I personally enjoy the fact that when I go out to eat I can order a regular sized drink, and if I am still thirsty, I can get another without having to put out of pocket again. Every penny saved helps.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. chibidw

    “Our environment is full of way too many temptations,” Davis said. “This is one temptation that isn’t really necessary.”

    MORAL POLICE! MORAL POLICE! Legislate those bad temptations away!

    June 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave in Portland

      Yes, this smacks of 1984, or even more appropriately Demolition Man.

      I realize that obesity is reaching epidemic proportions, but there are many reasons for that and none of them will be solved by legislating sugary drinks.

      The issue is that they do not want to address the marketing franchises that throw commercials for unhealthy food at us 24/7. They do not want to address the fact that unhealthy food is generally cheaper and goes farther than healthy food.

      I can get enough food to fill me up for less than $5.00 at Taco Bell. How much organic, home-grown, free-range, blah blah blah food can I get for $5.00?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Karl

    Well...we don't try to tell people who they can and can't marry and what two consenting adults can do in their bedroom.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • CreepedOut

      Not yet....not yet but soon.

      June 20, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • amanda

      lol if thats sarcasm your awesome if not...then...uh yeah

      June 22, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      Oh yes they do.

      June 28, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. STP

    You nits! They are not telling you what not to drink or how much, you have the choice to choose your beverage by going to whichever superstore to buy a whole load of your sugary drinks all you want & if you wanna drink more just buy order glass if in the restaurant. Do you people even have common sense? Stop acting so privileged and grow up with the rest of the world

    June 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • columbus

      If it's that simple, then why does the government need to get involved?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • TW

      Yea, Im not paying 2.50 multiple times for a glass of coke at restaurants (not fast food). Ill stick to water. And if they want to monitor something, monitor the food, not the drink. Whats worse, a second coke or a second Big Mac to accompany the large fry?

      June 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nobody N. Particular

      You're the nit, what about the business who want to offer the free refills; why should they be forced to not server a legal product to their customers the way they see fit? Why does the government need to protect the "stupid and foolish" instead of letting them suffer their fates? The only thing the government needs to do is provide accurate information and make sure everyone is aware of the risks caused by high sugar consumption; then leave it to the people to decide for themselves. This is pure political theater, since this does nothing to limit the soda available in the stores or prevent people from "brown bagging" their favorite sodas to the restaurants; they just want to look like they care.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      So, what are they telling us by banning large drinks? That large drinks are a danger because they are unwieldy and might cause someone to spill it on someone? No they are clearly saying that there is an obesity problem in this country and large sodas are playing a part in it. The problem with this whole thing is that people are going to do what people want to do. People can drink large sodas, go to the gym and exercise and be perfectly fit, other people can drink large sodas, sit on the couch and watch tv all day and not do a thing. It's all about an individual's desire, and the government has no business telling us what we can and cannot desire, especially when something is legal (soda) trying to place a restriction on it like that is an exercise in futility. Plus the fast food served at these places is probably twice as bad as the soda, do they really think making the soda smaller is going to help?

      This is just a step in the direction of socialism comrade. Next thing you know people will be lining up to get their monthly McDonalds vouchers allowing them to partake in fast food just once a month because that's what the government thinks is best for you.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Satty

      Until they decide to ban that too. You give an inch they take a mile. I'd rather be a nit with the freedom of choice – to choose what I drink, or to choose what I sell and by how much than one of the sheeple that think this kind of thing is okay.

      June 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tommy

      How can you say they are not telling you what to drink when they are clearly limiting what you can and can do when you spend your earned money on food. It's my decision to drink what I drink and not the governments. If I want to drink 2 large cokes at McDonald's it's my right to do so. I feel that this is absolutely ridiculous! Why not prohibit selling tobacco and alcohol while your at it cause those are just as unhealthy. I know you can still buy all you want at the stores but it's my money and it's my decision.

      June 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hana

      Actually... they are trying to tell you what to drink and how much... thus the ban on large sodas. I thought that part was at least clear.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
    • L

      You are absolutely ridiculous! Every single "ban" or regulation takes away freedoms of others, no matter how small. The government should not be in our lives at this level. So what if you can buy another soda. What about the business who wants the freedom to offer this? They should worry more about the GMO, chemical, and other things that are bad for us in our foods. You will never regulate a persons behavior. It's a waste of our tax dollars and time.

      June 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Golanego

      Why don't you move to Cuba where the government gives you a shopping list and tells you want to buy? Or that you’re not allowed to eat in certain restaurants that are designated for tourists? Letting government dictate the free market in this situation is a bad idea. Democracy= People Rule this is the dumbest idea I have ever heard of....regardless of how fat people are! Banning soda is a symbol of infringement on our rights as a free people. Even though this is a very simple, stupid example, it will act as a model example for all other stupid laws that will follow..

      June 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • euphewl

      How is not being OK with government regulation on what drink, or how much drink, I am allowed to buy mean I should grow up?

      Seriously? It's a slippery slope, brother, to letting the government "take care of you" and say it "knows best". (scary!)

      Then again, since our government is lacking corruption, and works tirelessly the long hours into the night, correcting all of our country's woes – why wouldn't I want my own nutrition to be legislated? I mean, they are doing SUCH a great job.

      Hey – maybe we can start filling up our jails with restaurant owners who server 20 oz. sodas! They are, after all, threatening my life by offering too big of a soda... and now we have legislation – so we can prosecute! or sue!!!

      LAME! Government needs to keep out of my personal life!!!!!!!

      June 21, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      THANK YOU! well said

      June 23, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Icelander711

      Thanks for your condescending remark. Let's just have government control every aspect of our lives and be "grown up" about it by just accepting that and moving on. Brilliant.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • sonja maciaczyk

      Thank you for saying this, I thought I was the only one that was thinking the same thing! It's amazing that once something is introduced everyone thinks they have "the right to it" Think way way back to when supersized DIDN'T exsist!

      June 27, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  15. jtucker4

    Because you fat people are a large burden on the tax bracket. It's obvious you cannot control yourselves so the government has to step in and do it for you.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • seatteite09

      @jtucker - you are obviously still a kid/teen. When you eventually grow up you'll get to understand how slippery a slope this is.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike58

      I don't like how you drive so you should not be allowed to have a car any more

      June 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aimee

      Harsh, but ya, pretty much.

      June 21, 2012 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
    • ItoldUso

      jtucker4: fat people are not the only people who drink sugary drinks. And what kind of burden does anyone put on a tax bracket??? Do you even understand WHAT a tax bracket is??? Maybe the government should step in and round up all you stupid people too.

      June 28, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      Yes, because skinny people NEVER get a refill on their big ol' drank, right? Riiiight.

      June 29, 2012 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
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