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. ZOmbieKILLAinDaHood

    When the government is telling us what we can an cant eat or drink.. this is the day the people say no ! We the People of the United States of America will stand up and make our voices heard !

    June 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mr Mike

      I , being a person of the united states, shouldn't have to pay for your diabetes or heart disease because you can't go without a twinkie..

      Sorry to say, you fatties will have your way..

      Democracy is such crap..

      June 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary Carter

      Forgot to mention that I am 74 not overweight, not diabetic and make two trips a year to the doctor. Why are we condeming the sick, the overweight and the disabled? Because "they are costing money". We have the worst health care in the world. The patients are more in tune with their bodies than the doctors. It is actually criminal and laughable, if it wasn't so serious.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marcia Cross

    How about banning buffets? Or, forcing restaurants to weigh every portion of food before serving it to make sure that it meets a meals caloric acceptable maximum. Can we also get a law passed that will only allow me to purchase evil foods from the grocery stores in a certain small amount. For instance, 2 bags of chips and a soda, but no cakes or cookies. Have a trade off. Also, could some bureaucrat come over to my house at bath time to make sure that I am getting every little spot of skin squeaky clean, ensure that each tooth is thoroughly brushed, but all with only the most minimal use of water possible? I need to be protected from freedom of choice. Can someone please rush these laws into effect before I have a limb severed from diabeetus or die of a coronary from my life style choices?

    June 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • lindaluttrell

      I could not agree more! Where does this insanity end??? Do either of these fools have a degree in medicine...nutirtion??? I seriously doubt it. They are on power trips and need to be stopped.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trapped in a nanny state

      As Devo said... freedom of choice is what you have, freedom from choice is what you want.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. nitrous

    I guess my Dr. Pepper IV idea will have to be put on the shelf.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    What we need is more people taking responsibility for a healthy lifestyle. Legislating nutrition should may be an answer, but is shouldn't have to be.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lindaluttrell

    Enough with the Drink Police already! If these beverages contained alcohol and people were immediately getting into their autos, I could see your concern. Last time I checked this was not a police state/country! Get a life or maybe concentrate on crime in your areas...

    June 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcia Cross

      With all of the drones taking to our air space and Obama signing the Patriot Act into law again, I wouldn't be so sure of that. Also, NDAA. What is worse than a Bush in the White House? Obama in the White House that continues all of his policies.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Primal 4 Life

    Anybody for this, is an idiot and should be punched as hard as possible right in the face.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JP

    No laws will ever be able to force people to eat heathily. I can only see one reasonable solution to this health crisis – develop a way for people to eat and drink whatever they like, but prevent it from reaching their stomach. Intercept it on the way down, and maybe replace it with nutritious foods that they never have to taste or chew. That's what this is about, the enjoyment we get from eating unhealthy foods. We should be able to enjoy them as much as we want, but not have to endure the negative effects that come from actually digesting them. I'm sure it can be done, and it will be much cheaper than all the costs associated with an obese population.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Destry

    So Ill just buy another one! Is that what this all about? Just more money? Well then only the rich would be able to afford to drink soda. Oh so then youre going to put a limit on how many sodas I can drink in one day? This country is headed down a dangerous road...

    June 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jon

    How dare they tell us what we can eat and drink. I believe soda is still a legal substance.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Primal 4 Life

    How about I run my restaurant the way I, and my customers want? That cannot be too much to ask.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Amy

    These bans will not solve anything.. People who love soda will just go to the supermarket and buy their sodas.. So please explain to me how this ban will solve the obesity problem? People need to be responsible for their own kids.. If your kids are on the computer or playing video games and you are not getting them outside.. You have only yourself to blame.. Every food can make people overweight so it is irresponsible to say its just Soda.. I lived off of Carl's Junior for over a year.. I walked to and from work. Walked everywhere.. I didn't get overweight.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mary Carter

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. It started with the smoking and it will never end until every person in this country is under the control of the out of control government. I am an Independent voter but PEOPLE GET SICK AND THEY DIE. It makes no difference what they eat or drink I am 74 and the government would put me in prison if they checked on my diet and they probably will if I live to see it.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Paul

    1. Don't tell me I can't have more than a 16 oz soda, or an extra refill. What business is that of yours?
    2. Don't tell me I'm too stupid to pack a lunch for my own child.
    3. Don't dig your hands down my pants, steal my wallet, and fund a bunch of garbage I don't believe in. Dig in your own pants, mister.
    If you agree with any of the above, vote conservative in November.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    We should ban all stinking confederate teapublican sc@mbags from ever serving in congress!

    June 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Allen

    STP you are that is so stupid to see that our liberties are trying to be taking away from as a little at a time. Wake up America!!!

    June 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
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