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. CNNuthin

    Cambridge has one of the worst homeless problems in the state. And this is what she concerns her time with?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    After all, Bloombergh and Newark's mayor aren't the only dumb and incompetent mayors in America! Well, excuse me waiter, can I have a large soda? O' I'm afraid that we are prohibited from selling large sugary sodas here in Mass as is the case in NY City! Duhhhhhh! Then I'll have five small sodas! Dumb Incompetent illiterate low lives called mayors!

    June 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sbssue1

    If people don't know they are fat and don't want to do anything about it, just allow so many dollars toward their medical and then they are on their own. Doctors need to preach more to patients and then maybe the thick headed people would understand...........................maybe not. Dictatorship is the wrong way to go.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ha

    if the Sugar levels are toxic then yes.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BobbyBrick

    What a freakin' scam.....I'm calling BS!!! Concerned about our health...who the hell are they kidding? Ban large drinks and people and refills, and people are more likely to buy a second drink. Second drink..more taxes. That's what it's all about. Smoke and mirrors folks..

    June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Anthony

    The government should interfere. I'm tired of paying higher health care costs because of gluttonous unhealthy blobs. The government is not telling you what you can drink, they are telling you that if you want another refill on your 32 oz cup of sugar, you need to pay an extra dollar.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ron

    Local, state and federal governments should spend more time finding solutions that help with job creation, the economy and minimizing crime rather than proposing unnecessary legislation because one lawmaker (Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis) believes "Our environment is full of way too many temptations,”. Do you really want this to be your claim to public office? #whatmattersmost

    June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      When the population is too large to get off it's bum and get a job then it is time for the gov. to step in and help save the population from itself. Maybe if the population were to slim down and get more active they can start being productive again and get back to work.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jon

    There should be a ban on filling my cup to the brim with ice then because that usually leaves you with about 3 sips of drink. Ridiculous Government control. Big Brother get the heck out of my food and beverage consumption.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sbssue1

    Put people to work so they can work it off stupids! Make jobs and give people a broom at let them sweep the streets, they won't have time to sit around and drink quarts of soda and the like. Why are you making rules instead of doing your real jobs! Like govern and Lead.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. generaliowa

    All I hear is people whining that the government does too much, then I hear that this same government doesn't do enough in other areas.

    Its too much that they want to help your health by making it that you drink less soda, but you then whine to them that they should be the ones who police what your kids play or don't play for video games.

    CONGRATS PEOPLE! You are all hypocrites and I hope you enjoy it! I think the gov't should regulate this but not video games.

    Of course if parents did their own *bleeping* jobs across the board instead of looking for others to do it, kids would be better off.

    Make them exercise, make them play less video games, make them drink more water, make them eat healthier.

    I didn't know that was so bloody hard, but with the intelligence of the average American IT IS!

    June 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • BobbyBrick

      Wow...your opening argument is just the worst, and it goes downhill from there. You complain about intelligence in the US and this is the best you come up with...we'll get in line genius, your one of 'em.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Deb

    What is wrong with people in the US? Are we so weak and simple-minded that we can't figure out what to eat or drink? We have to let "mommy" tell us. It is called COMMUNISM. That is just how it starts. Oh we are the government and we love and want to help you. Next is telling you what to read, what music you should listen to, how to dance what to wear, what movies you should watch. We are loosing freedom everyday and we are to stupid to even see it.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Gary

    This will simply end up like the toy in the happy meal in San Francisco where the city banned the FREE toy with the "unhealthy" meal so McDonalds simply charged an extra .10 cents to purchase the toy separately. The same will happen here where you can pay an extra .10 cents at the register for unlimited refills. Government needs to get back to governing and stop with the social engineering.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jay in NC

    I think they should ban caviar and foie gras at fancy NY restaurants. Both high in cholesterol and salt. Those fat cats need to cut down.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sbssue1

    Better yet, close the Coke and Pepsi industry..........................that would work. We keep voting these idiots back into office. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Think about it.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JohnH

    why can't we just ban the fat people that are drinking them? sayyy anyone over 250 pounds isn't allowed a refill or a large?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
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