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. seatteite09

    Let's instead ban 1d1ot1c mayors from suggesting random bans on stuff they do not like or understand.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. havanas

    I guess we will just be seeing more and more of these laws as our population Is apparently to freakin' stupid and/or lazy to decide how to live. Maybe we should just toss out this whole crazy, free, democratic government thing and anoint some super nanny to help us regulate our bowel movements.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. columbus

    Another question that should be asked, why is it the government wants to regulate soft drinks but doesn't touch foie gras, caviar, or bottles of expensive wine?

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

      July 1, 2012 – California puts a ban in place on foie gras. Most caviar is taken from farm raised fish in a sustainable method these days and wine is ATF.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Grimaldas

    This is complete tripe. To think, that those who we elect (that's right folks, we put them there) in good faith come up with this kind of absurd effort to "keep America thin" is appauling. I'm not allowed to have a refill of a 16 once soda to hit the road with, but by golly, I can pound down two whoppers and a large fry with no problem. Sheez. These elected officicals today are a waste of our tax money and time.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. eric

    Just let me know when the nice men in grey uniforms come to round us up and send us off to camp, i gota a nice cozy attic picked out and I wana get a good start on my diary.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mance Lotter

    Certain stupid liberals don't understand the word "liberty"

    June 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Michael Cato

    You can't tell me that there is not something more worthy of paid public servants time in Cambridge.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jayson

    And we wonder why nobody takes responsiblity for their own actions.... Yet another dumb law to supposedly save us from ourselves

    June 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mad chef

    Yeah charge for refills because everything in NYC isn't super expensive to begin with. I get all these fat asses need self control but I don't think the government needs to be the ones doing it. How bout we stop putting corn syrup in everything and start with big business and politicking them first.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Paul

    Yes, obesity and its results will be an epidemic for years to come. Yes, there is countless cost to this epidemic, from the complications of diabetes (scares the cr** out of me to see my mom wrap my dad's mottled legs) to getting scrunched by a fatty on a plane or bus. But regulation of food will solve nothing. Bit**ing at the obese will solve nothing. One thing that will work is having financial advantages to weight loss and maintenance. Have a set of rewards for verified, maintained weight loss and control. Expensive? You bet it will be. But it's also expensive to push around a 400 lb amputee, regardless of whose paying for it.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. seatteite09

    The mayor's suggestion aside, what is way more astonishing (and frankly sad) is the fact that a whopping 18.54% responded they would agree with the ban.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tara

    Okay so if I am a Deli owner in NYC and leave work and buy an ounce or less of pot and get caught, according to the decriminalization rules, I get a $100 fine. If I am at work and sell a 24oz soda and get caught, according to the criminalization rules, I get a $200 fine. LoL!!!!! Soda is twice as illegal as marijuana. What a city!

    June 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. California

    A ban on giving away something?

    Freedom is dying pretty fast in this country called the U.S. of A.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Perhaps the mayor could show us a picture of her six pack as an indication of how committed she is to staying trim! That's my challenge to you Ms. Mayor!

    June 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. john

    The part that is being ignored. This is not a government issue. This is a parental issue. If the person is over 18, then they are an adult and can do what they want. If the person is under 18, then it is up to their parent(s) to decide what they should drink.

    My cousin has 2 young children and neither of them will even ask for a soda. I have taken them out to amusement parks and regardless that their parents are not around, they only ask for water. Even after assuring them that their mom is not going to know, just water.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
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