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. cocondril

    KInd of little local sharia law. Mayor knows best what's good for you. Wouldn't it be more lucrative to ban stupidity first?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lawsquire

    Brings new meaning to getting busted with 20 ounces of coke. This is ridiculous.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Saidso

    How stupid. Not that I ever get refills but soda is not an illegal substance.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. VinceRN

    Herein lies the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives. All liberals have one thing in common, the believe in the supremacy of the state, that the state the source of all good and the final authority over all aspects of our lives. Their answer to everything is "there should be a law..." All liberals believe that is is right for the state to tell individuals what to do, what think, what to eat or what to drink, or how to live in general.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mona

      Yeah right except when it comes to issues like abortion or gay marriage, then big government telling the individual what to do is great.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • phunk

      Generalize much? That's like me saying all conservatives are rich, white men who own their own businesses and attend a mega-church every Sunday while decrying government at the same time they want the government to ban abortion, birth control, immigration, and to give subsidies to big oil, farms, and outsourcers. But the difference between me and you is that I also know there are plenty of poor, inbred, toothless, white-trash, racist rednecks that vote republican too!

      June 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Alex

    ban food stamp users from buy fast food and candies. problem solved!

    June 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lover

    Well, why other people should stop taking advantage of free refils because of obese?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CNNuthin

    Arggggh! On the NYC story I posted how much better Massachusetts is because we would never do anything like this. Argh...

    June 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. A. A. roberts

    These kind of laws simply continue to chip away at our personal freedom. The government becomes a nanny and people stop thinking for themselves... in a large part wasn't that what communism was?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jean

    All this banning of sugary drinks is ridiculous. I tend to avoid them anyway since I'd rather eat my calories than waste them on a BIG GULP. Yes i agree there is an obesity problem in America but people need to take responsiblity for their own bodies. But on the other hand I also do not want my own healthcare costs to go up b/c Fatso ends up in the ER and can't pay his bills.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CJ

    The gov uses health care cost as the reason for all these intrusive laws...so how about you just add a tax 'bad' drinks and food to pay for the health care cost? Oh wait...I know why, because the gov abuses programs like this, collects the money and spends it like a drunk rich girl at the mall with daddies credit card.

    So maybe they should first pass a law that states ALL 'sin' taxes collected are to go into a fund for public health care and no placed else...unlike where all the cigarette tax money is going now.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Obamajoe

    what???????????

    a mayor?????????

    Bush's sister,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,????????????????

    a true woody

    June 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JP

    Let us self-righteously impose bans on cigarettes, fatty foods, and sugary drinks so we can feel superior. But don't dare touch our precious alcohol, which is responsible for many broken homes, child and spousal abuse, and deaths. Bunch of hypocrites.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • nomercy101

      There should not be a ban on anything that is legal, before you know, they will tell you how many time you may masterbate.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dawne

    NO ONE is going to tell me what I can eat or drink. PERIOD!!!

    June 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bob

    Hey Davies, just because Bloomberg proposes a dimwitted law doesnt mean that you have to try to top him. Whats next? Limits to how many candy bars you can buy on one shopping trip??

    June 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. R

    Instead of just asking if you smoke with trying to figure out your rate for health insurance, ask if you have 1 or more non-diet “sugary” soft drink each day (that includes fruit juices as they are as bad or worse. Don’t take away one’s right to partake in something completely legal. Also, I say end the subsidies on large soy and corn farms. If you have to give the money to someone, I suggest giving it to vegetable growers.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
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