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. A Random Girl

    The major stupidity of this one. Advocating is fine, but passing laws that tell us what to do to this extent? It's an extra cup of soda- not crack cocaine. Sure soda is an addictive substance, but will doing this really cause obesity to be non-existent? It's about as outrageous as the women who banned the ice cream man from the parks. Trust me a little ice cream won't hurt you kid, that junk you feed them on a daily basis will. America has gone down hill. -_-

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

    how bout tax an extra $5 on each drink, yeah that's the ticket

    June 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SH54


    June 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Really?

    This is really going a tad too far I would say. Banning temptations? This is like prohibition for the 21st century. There are going to be underground Speak Easy's in every town serving Big Gulps and free refills of Dr. Pepper.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  5. stevem7

    I think I would be looking into how many soda fountain outlets Henrietta is invested in because this seems like a naked move to cause people to pay for each and every soda. Gonna UP that profit margin one way or another huh Henrietta?

    June 20, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ellie

    OMG! What next? Simply eating out PERIOD is supposedly bad for us. Will government curtail that eventually? It is so ironic AND funny, too, that here everyone is screaming "less government intrusion" and, yet, our freedoms are being eroded daily. Get a grip, Mayors Bloomberg and Davis! Don't you realize that these mandates only encourage us to be disobedient and determined to do what we believe to be our personal choice and right? Don't you have more critical matters to attend to than whether or not I should have that second soft drink?

    June 20, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mr. Black

    Welcome to the Land of the Banned, folks! Liberty? That's yesterday's news. Today we're all about taking care of those who can't take care of themselves, meaning everybody. Oh, we're not going to educate the public on proper nutrition, we're just going to arbitrarily ban everything we don't agree with.

    Do these elected officials think they're actually doing something?

    June 20, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bill

    So.....if someone wants a large Diet Coke, they're SOL?? Typical politician, legislating their people into another Nanny law!!

    June 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mance Lotter

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

    – So tell me, what temptations ARE necessary? So YOU get to determine what is and isn't necessary and then enforce it?

    June 20, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. guyFromVA

    This is just one step closer to the gov't totally controlling what we can eat or drink for each meal every day.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. xeno

    I agree that sugared sodas and other high calorie drinks are a part of the obesity problem. I agree that obesity is an epic problem that threatens to collapse an already shaky healthcare system. However, I choose to eat healthy, and I choose to only occasionally enjoy these drinks. Last week, on vacation, I enjoyed at least three full sized sodas, and the free refills. Why do I have to give that up because others cannot exercise self restraint? And don't even get me started on what they did to the one happy meal a year my kid gets. Some people can't control themselves so everyone has to give up treats?

    June 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lanfear

      agreed, let people make their own choice. Then suffer the consequence if they don't like it.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lanfear

    Wake up people, you have a choice!

    I hate fat people just as much as the next guy... but they still deserve to have the choice. If they do this, why not just force people to exercise and be healthy. Guess what, it's not going to change a thing!

    June 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Matrix

    I suggest a ban on nanny statist twits in public office.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John G

    If they can't ban large soda drinks, then make sure everybody has a lawyer with them to sue the soft drink manufacturer! That was the cities banning the drinks wont be blamed for obese citizens!!

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

    "...because my citizens aren't capable of thinking for themselves!"

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