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. lou50

    you can not legislate morality, personal health practice so they need to get over it. People have a death wish till they die then their relatives want to sue.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry G.

      Tell me, are you going to pay for the catastrophic medical care these morbidly obese people will need, due to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, etc.?

      Who do you think pays for Medicare and Medicaid.

      We do–about $1 Trillion, per year.

      Our politicians are just going to continue taking money from lobbyists and then pass the bills on to us.

      That's why senators and congress members are able to acquire more money than they make in their $175,000, per year salaries.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nomad

      Great point Lou50. Perhaps banning lawyers would serve the true better interests of ur nation.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nomad

      @Barry. DO you think that a ban on soda size and/or refills will get you money back from these people? Don't get me wrong. I do not drink any soda at all but this is a free country. Isn't it?

      June 20, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. nojusticed

    These are not the issues the local governments are paid to spend their time on. Why not focus on the real problems that require some effort instead of these "lazy" projects that require no effort on their part. Any government official that is putting this matter above many other much needed matters should be immediately replaced or their position completely removed since they nothing else better to do with our tax money. Also, instead of raising prices to encourage people to make better decisions, why not lower prices on healthier products like water or Gatorade like products.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ricky d

    The government needs to be reigned in before it gets out of control. Banning refills on soft drinks? Give me a f-ing break.

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

    Go ahead you stupid people. Give up more of your rights because you are afraid of, and hate, FAT PEOPLE!

    You all screwed us with the Patriot act and the NDDA. Go ahead, give up another, it's ONLY A FREE REFILL!

    June 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. regis123

    What a waste of time. There are so many more pertinent issues to deal with. Free refills, stop them. It will just mean more money for the soda supplier for those that need the fix.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Leucadia Bob

    June 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kraas

    What about all the SKINNY people that like soda? Sucks for them I guess. This is just a smokescreen so people don't focus on real issues.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Vad

    Next up...Forced exercise. Big brother is watching.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mike58

    get the hell out of my business I'll eat drink drive sleep with whoever whatever I want there not a dam thing you can do about it.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConvenienceForeverFreshnessNever

      Exactly! CLEARLY over-stepping her bounds.

      In the words of Eric Cartman, "What-evah! I ran for Congress and won. Then I had $ex with an intern, killed her, and hid her body! What-evah, I'll do what I waunt!"

      June 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. adsjags82

    Sugary drinks are only part of the problem. If someone does not care about their health enough to control their intake of their own volition, then there is little anyone else can do to stop them. Trust me, this move will hardly change the way the average Joe is going to eat. Someone ordering a big mac and large order of fries may not even see any benefit of ordering a medium/small drink over a large soda. When will the govt. grow some brains...!!

    June 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • ConvenienceForeverFreshnessNever

      When they have crushed your unrelenting soul.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. paul2313

    Don't you just love nanny governments? Governments that tell you what you need to do, where you can stand, what to eat and drink and how much, telling you to stop picking your nose and sit up straight. I can go visit my mother for that kind of treatment.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    So I just buy a whole new drink. Bravo government, for wasting time AND money...

    June 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. uidiot

    This is fascism, plain and simple. Liberal nanny-state fascism at its worst.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mary

    This is going too far.. If I want to super size I should have the right.. If I want cake, cookies, pie, candy or a gallon of pop..I have the right..
    I am not fat.. Never been fat.. But I have the right to eat whatever I want even if I was. Having anyone go this far, having anyone tell you that you can not eat what you want.. Is taking freedom and tossing it into the dumpster..
    I thought his was a joke at first. Cause it spits on freedom..

    June 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jaintn

    How stupid, but then again politicians aren't exactly rocket scientists.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
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