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. murpis

    I guess Big Brother has found another way to control us. Too bad they won't control how much alcohol people drink before they control how much soda people drink. I'd rather die from being fat than by a drunk diver.

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

    John Eller just sold me on going to Fire and Ice tonight. That place is pretty amazing. A little pricy but really good food.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bobby

    fyi mayor...the drink doesn't make you fat....drinking it does.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. independentlyowned

    Yes there's an obesity problem, and yes a lot of it has to do with our fast food culture and too much sugar and fat in everything we eat. Will any kind of soda ban fix this problem though? NO! Soda is by no means the largest contributor to this problem, and if anything, it will just make people panic and stock up on 2 liter bottles at the store and guzzle them.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Scott

    I wonder how long before they ban candy, fast food restaurants, Dunkin Donuts etc. all in the name of "the public good".

    June 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CNNuthin

    Next theme for this year's Boston Freedom Rally: Decriminalize Soda

    June 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. wildone

    Beer's next.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Beer should have been first

      although I think people should be allowed to drink drain-o if they want to

      (I dont care about beer,I just want annoying drunks to drop dead)

      June 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RogueAries

    So what's next, the government is going tell how much dessert I should have?

    June 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • RogueAries

      *tell us

      June 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. asdkl

    Im sure restaurants would love charging the same $3 for soda and then get even more for a refill.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sechure

    Stooopeeed Idea111

    June 20, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike

    Enjoy the upcoming nanny state, guys. You voted for it – you get it....

    June 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Heidi

    ban free refills = more taxes if customers want another drink. Just say you want to tax us more, stop trying to soften it on obesity. How about unlimited free refills so we can save a plactic/paper cup and save the enviroment?

    June 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. UpChuck.Liberals

    How about we ban stupid politicians and simplify things? As soon as they say "It's for the good of .........." tell them to shut up and sit down.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      No government? Might as well. Rich corporations already have politicians in their pocket anyway. I can't tell if people like you are stupid or if you really think a government-less society will keep us safe and the population at-large functioning properly. Its true that I often times can't tell who is more corrupt, although I'm going to go with corporations.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JD

    Sounds like these Mayors are on power trips. Aren't we still in the USA? What happened to freedom of choice?

    June 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flora

      Would someone please tell me when I moved out of AMERICA?????? This is ridiculous! You couldnt stop the smoker, or the alcoholic, the drug dealers laugh at the law, we murder babies , Pediphilers are coaching little league teams!!!!!! The only thing these idiots are concerned with is my PEPSI!! NOT DIET PEPSI.....PEPSI!!!!! I will continue to drink it as much as I want and the size I sugar is 90 regardless when its taken, or what I have eaten or drank, so go do something useful. Hey here is an idea.....Find ways to work on the debt in America due to the President, and politicians who make more then any of us will ever dream of seeing!

      June 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob

    If I want to be told what to eat and drink and when to poop I'll move to Cuba.
    I don't want that and it appears that about 85% of the respondents to the survey above feel the same way.
    Yo politicians, take that as a clear message:
    Keep your nanny-state hands out of our diets if you want to be around to do the work we actually elected you to do.

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