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. Martimar

    Okay, they aren't exactly free refills... You are paying for unlimited refills... So, don't ban what I am paying for.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dale

    Banning–yep that fixes everything.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jimzcarz

    Good idea on the survey thinggy..\,,/..(>_<)..\,,/

    June 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tim

    This mayor and the New York mayor need to go to a communist country and be mayors over there. It's absolutely ridiculous that there could be a possibility of something like this passing.

    June 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emeljay

      I agree that banning infringes on our rights and hurts merchants. I agree that it's crazy and unfair to those with no obesity problems, and even those with problems. I agree that sugary drinks aren't the only cause of obesity. I agree that nobody has the right to tell anyone else what to put into their bodies. However, on the other other other hand... WE are paying for obesity related health issues. [things that make you go hmmmmm]

      June 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe - Utah

    What the hell is wrong with these people. It is not the role of government to try to control people's personal freedom. Are they completely wacko!

    June 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Matt S

    Is this guy the Antichrist of soft drinks or what? Calm down, Mr. mayor.....people are fat because they have control issues – taking away their 90 oz Super Slurpee aint gonna solve the problem

    June 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Delta470

    This is why we need to remove all warning labels and let society work it's way out. We'll be rid of 85% of the issue's in no time flat.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. bikermiker

    With almost every city, county, state and the Federal government facing major fiscal problems, crime, potholes, etc, etc, and these nitwit politicians spend their time worrying about soda. It seems like very few politicians have the guts or brains to tackle the really big, significant problems so they spend our tax payer dollars on nonsense like this. Personal responsibility – if you drink too many sugary drinks – you get fat. If you don't want to get fat, don't do it! Your choice. These inane politicians are disgusting.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SteveG.

    The insanity of it is mind boggling. Besides the obvious Big Brother intrusions that are truly chilling, it will have zero effect on anyone's health. Unless Big Brother completely controls every aspect of your diet and exercise, there's no way to ensure that any ban of any sort will have an overall positive effect. Fascism is an ugly thing under either party.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sam

    The government is crossing the line!! What are they going to do next, make us show the police our papers when we are out and about? How about restrict travel from state to state, or force us into political cleansing! For the love of Mike, if the sugar is going to kill you, and you die because of it, declare it a suicide and don't pay out the life insurance policy. I see stupid people.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. citizen4

    This is what always happens when somebody else assumes responsibility for your healthcare. Once I am on the hook to pay for it, I have a right to demand that you refrain from doing anything that might cost me money.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam

      They are working on that. If Worthless Obama has his way it will be far worse.

      June 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wanfuforever

    How about I decide what to eat and drink and reap the consequences, instead of the government telling me? Don't they have an infrastructure to repair?

    June 20, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dennis Leary in Demolition Man

    Better start hiding our books. Pretty soon the "Firemen" will come looking to burn them if someone in government disagrees with their content.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Christina

    Psst. Over here, in the alley. I've got Pepsi or Coke, but it's gonna cost ya.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Damien

    The answer is not this, its about teaching people in America how to eat right. The concept over the years is too much is never enough in everything, and this is what has come about due to that. Some of the issues is the type of food people are eating, some of it is what goes into our food, The preservatives, the chemicals, they affect how your body digests and some things that go into our food are not even digestible.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
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