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. Pepsi 101

    Maybe if our political leaders would pass a law to lower the cost of healthy foods, consumer can afford to make better choices! Some of our elected officials need to take a good look in the mirror, they are just as unhealthy as other americans! Always clean your house first before you try to clean someone else home! They need to remove all the snacks on Capitol Hill before targeting other stores.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Heaveninc

    I get angry when i read things like this.. because we have more serious issues than this to deal with.. What about couples that order one big popcorn and a large soda and split it.. A restaurant should be able to serve the drinks, they want to..Politicians should spend their time figuring out how to lower prices on gas, food, utlities, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone bills, school tuitions,day care, nursing homes and perhaps people could actually live and stop being so depressed and eating so much.. There is no more joy in AMERICA.. STOP worrying about Gosh darn sodas.. and do the real work.. stand up for the people!!

    June 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sbssue1

    Communism at its best! Why aren't these people doing more to get people back to work rather than worrying about what they eat and drink? Crazy dictatorship.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. driveless

    This is crazy lets ban pizza, coffee creamer and Ice cream too Just ban people from your city and you will have no problems

    June 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chrissy333

    If they really wanted to prevent diabetes and obesity, then they should ban high-fructose corn syrup and genetically modified food. Those foods are indigestable and pose serious health risks, yet the government does nothing to stop them. Instead they focus on Big Brother tactics.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. nomercy101

    King Bloomberg is an idiot

    June 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CNNuthin

    How can you dictate what a company sells for just your town? These are multinational corporations and you want to bother them with things like this? I guess when you get unlimited sodas and coffee at City Hall you don't really need to worry about going into a Subway Sandwich shop and sitting down for a lunch. Check out a photo of this mayor. She would fail her own definition of Obese, the porker...

    June 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. farleyjc

    I have to say, I saw this one coming. When Blumburg banned the large drink, my 1st question was what about the refills.

    The government has gotten totally out of hand when interfering with our lives. Even the communist are allowed refills.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Andrea

    This is just ridiculous. I understand there is an obesity "epidemic", but the government needs to stop butting into our lives! Not everybody who gets a free refill is an unhealthy or obese person, and even if they are, it is their personal choice. This isn't going to combat obesity, people will end up just buying another soda if they have to. I'm sick of everybody having to change their eating habits because some people don't know how to control themselves. Food is becoming flavorless, I can't even get a nice buttery pretzel with real cheese at the mall anymore because they went for a "healthier alternative" and now i won't even be able to get a free refill on my soda to help swallow down the dry and bland pretzel I ordered.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. zoobs

    this country is so fat wake up

    June 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Duke

      Not as fat as your head must be.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • msnman

      As a skinny person who enjoys refills, speak for yourself.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Brad

    In order for an addict to overcome their addictions, they must first make the choice themselves to get help. You can't force it upon them.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. George Lyda

    How far are we away from detention camps for us non-conformists?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JohnH

    this is ridiculous. how can we even begin to make law, bans, or regulations like this?? so they're gonna ban the size of my burger and steak? and how much i can eat at a meal? its a slippery slope. absolutely crazy

    June 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rafael

    I will be damn, I will drink what I want, how ever much I want, when I want, and how I want. No one from a from City, County, State or Federal can tell me otherwise. It is every US Citizens right to do what they want and how they want. If you want to smoke 10 packs a day, go for it. You are free to do what you want. If I want to drink 3 twelve packs of sodas a day I will, try and stop me. If McDonnalds wants to give free refills they should be able to, its their business. If you get fat because you live at a Buger Joint, not my problem. I don't care and won't feel sorry for you when you die from a heart attack, but it was your choice. All governments from City, County, State and Federal need to worry about other things than free refills, worry about fixing these roads or spending less on sports and more on academics. We got worse issues than this.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bill Duke

    Ban socialist control freak mayors instead.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
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