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. ashton

    Good grief charlie brown

    June 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ME


    June 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ban cars and buses

    Ban all cars and buses and make people walk. It will improve the obesity rates and reduce pollution. On top of that, we can buy less oil so will be less dependent on foreign suppliers. But don't touch my diet soda refills.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Time for real change.

    The government was long ago entrusted with running our country. They are failing, and crossing blurring our Liberties. It seems like the time is coming to dismiss them of their responsibilities.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brenda

    Free refills killed my grandmother :o(

    June 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sagebrush Shorty

      Refills of what?

      June 20, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Eman de Riuqer

    Wait, wasn't this once America? Fhat the wuck happened? You can abort your child, or drop him off at a fire station, buy a gun at a fair and go on a shooting rampage, (illegal but unstoppable until basically after the fact...) but you can't get a refill on a sugary beverage? Is THAT what people think is the problem now?!? You have the right to this, the right to that, and the right to the other, but we're no longer trusting you with the responsibility for deciding how many calories you're permitted to put into your own body?

    Keep your laws off my stomach!!!

    June 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. immortaliTEA

    I choose not to drink soda or eat fast food at all and that is MY choice. My husband chooses to eat fast food once in a while and drink soda on those occasions since I dont keep it in the house because we have children and I want them to look at those things like a treat and not a necessity. I think it is completely wrong to take away something that my husband has come to look forward to as a treat. It's his choice to eat it once or twice a month, it is my choice not to eat it at all. It's other peoples choices to eat it every day if they want. When you take people choices away thats when we have problems bigger than fatty food and sugary drinks.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Willow

    You know what these bans will do eventually? They will drive down traffic at restaurants because more people will cook at home, and buy their soda pop at grocery stores, and possibly put some out of business. Gotta love these anti-jobs people, right?

    June 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Roberta

    Well it's not those who are fat who are trying to impose the ban on sugary drinks. I'm sure most of those people are more than happy to take personal responsibility for their weight issues. It's others that are trying to impose the rules and dictate things for all of society. I guess next before ordering a meal we'll all have to stand on a scale.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sagebrush Shorty

    Big Brother has arrived,and Big Sister is not far behind.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Baruch

    This latest attempt by both dem and rep mayors to control soda size...uh...there are people starving in your cities, dying with no health care, and THIS is what you focus on? Appalling priorities.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • OhNoYouDon't

      Exactly. It's the kind of mommy coddling bs that no one needs, and they're ignoring the REAL issues.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. OhNoYouDon't

    NO ONE should be able to tell a legal adult what to drink and when to drink it. Sure, soda is bad for you, but it's NOT a controlled substance. Prohibition does not work. Period. Oh, and by the way, I'm a liberal.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ready

    Headline should be: Mayor suggests that we pay his campaign contributers more money.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. There. Are. No. Gods!

    I don't care if they ban refills or not, I do not EVER drink soda. I have made that choice for myself. Soda is a worthless drink.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TheGarderner

    if they are too concerned of our health, why don't they subsidize organic farms to provide cheaper healthy food supply to the people? Oops I guess they are too scared of big businesses. If they are too concerned about public health, do something about school lunch. Do something about chicken farms which are known to feed livestock, chicken, cows, etc with their own POOP. All government, once cloud themselves as an elite political circle, will abuse, so please vote for a complete new young faces, not these old farts.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
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