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. m00nsuit

    This mayor is a MORON. The EXPENSE of even considering such a thing is an utter waste of taxpayer money. It's a waste of citizens time, its a waste of our time even reading about it. It's a waste of electricity hosting a news article on the web talking about it. You cannot protect everyone from themselves. We are not 1-year olds.

    Why not make a law banning 1 ply toilet paper so my thumb doesn't go up my backside...just like this half-baked loser plan.

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

    And in a few years, they'll panic over the increase of trash dumped as people simply buy more cups and waste them.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Natfka

    What is going on with these bans? Perhaps its time for recalls, not bans. these people are beyond imbecilic.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    Welcome to the communist states of America, were Freedom doesn’t reign .

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

    Has anyone looked into the fact that Bloomberg owner of a comapny that makes 16oz paper and foam cups?

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

    Won't work because if you drop the free refills the vendor will have to lower the price and see a price for anything go down is forbidden.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. steph

    Well after reading the stupid bans on not only the drinks but how people love to sue the restaurants because they made them fat. I'd like to say, that I am not thin but also not fat. I drink pop and love it, I eat fast food and love it. If you need government to help you control yourself by these bans then it's a sad part of life. We are adults and should act like it. If you don't like the bans speak up, if you do like it, then you need major help!!!! Grow up and do something for yourself, you are an adult and if you are happy that it'll just help your kids, get off your butts and take care of them yourselves, that is your job.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TheGarderner

    Government is encroaching on our life style, telling us what to , what not to drink? We should tell them they should not take money from Corporate in election campaigns. We should pay them less due to the current economy. They should share the pain. We should tell them not to drink at all because alcohol is bad in politics. Americans please wake up, vote these idiots out.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tigrr

    This is all publicity BS. If they REALLY wanted to make a dent – then BAN all soda and candy advertisements on tv, magazines, and especially children and teen show, sporting events. BEER TOO. But they won't do that – their corporate buddies would stop their election contributions. Use this excuse to vote Bloomberg and this clown out, or even better – get them to resign now.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. RandomGuest

    People who drink a large soda drinks also eat a lot of other high-caloric food. Are we also going to regulate the eating habits of these people?

    Why not completely ban alcoholic drinks & smoking? These 2 are not only harmful to the persons cunsuming them, but also to the people around them. How many innocent people become victims of drunk driving & second hand smoking?

    June 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • ZandH

      Half of population is over weighted and they are not healthy at all, they will create a lot of health issues and add in at everyone's cost. However ,not half of the population is drunk drivers.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RandomGuest

    Ban this food, band that food!

    Maybe, food rationing is the answer.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kenny

    Better yet, in NY ban cars and subway. Your obesity problem will go away.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    Uncle Mike has been an embarassment to the family for years. Short, bald, Jewish. No one else is short, bald or Jewish. Can't explain it but for as long as we can remember he's had to have things his way.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Demolition Man

    First they came for the big gulp,
    and I did not speak out because I wasn't fat.
    Then they came for the beer,
    and I did not speak out because I don't drink.
    Then they came for the meat,
    and I did not speak out because I was a vegetarian.
    Then they came for my motorcycle,
    and everyone was too busy being a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiener"

    June 20, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. whatsup

    I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess this mayor is a democrat....

    June 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • ready

      Like those people who have dry counties and fine for swearing? Those people?

      June 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
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