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. old folk

    Bravo et nausium

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

    What happened to Capitalism?

    June 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Capitalism is the SOURCE of most of today's problems, idiot. You view it as some sort of magic system that fixes all problems. No, it's a terrible system that makes tons of waste and kills our enviornment. THAT SAID, the government still has no business telling people what to drink. But those two things are completely different.

      June 20, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Moncada

    If restricting beverage size and banning refills doesn't work they'll start issuing personal 'beverage cards' to limit how much you buy.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Gopherit

    Bloomberg and Davis should get married and go to some uninhabited island where they could start their own country. Then, they could pass all of the nanny-state laws they wish and leave the rest of the world alone.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Christina

    According to sugarstacks.com, a 16 ounce bottle of apple juice has 56 grams of sugar and a 16 ounce bottle of chocolate milk has 58 grams of sugar. A 20 ounce bottle of Coke has 65 grams of sugar, which isn't so much more than the chocolate milk.

    It's all about moderation. If you drink gallons of healthy sugary drinks like milk and fruit juice, you can still go overboard on the calories.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      It isn;t about good or bad, it is about choice., NO one will tell me what i can and can not drink or eat. Now go play in your closet.

      June 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bill

    What next, Gov telling you how many slices of Pizza you can eat. Geez Communist politicians.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. old folk

    1984 and counting

    June 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. rukiddingme?

    If these politicians of ALL parties would stop worrying about micromanaging things that are none of their business, and pay attention to, uh, I dunno... the economy.... fixing the healthcare fiasco... the price of gasoline.... corrupt politicians.... the looming Iranian nuclear crisis.... we would not be in the sad state of affairs that we are today!

    June 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rick

    Why is it that all these politicians think they need to control EVERY aspect of our lives ? Watch out America ! They will be controlling what time your lights go out each evening....

    June 20, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mdc

    “Our environment is full of way too many temptations,” Davis said. “This is one temptation that isn’t really necessary.”

    Who is John Galt!

    June 20, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      'Atlas Shrugged'.
      Nice!

      June 20, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. achepotle

    The only proper place for government regulation is deep inside a woman's uterus....and to keep you from smoking pot....

    June 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TheSara

    If this means less nauseating, fat people, then I'm down with it.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Thermion7

    Wow.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Really?

    Has the mayor increased funding for free and low cost recreation programs? Has the mayor demanded that developers that build high rises pay fees to support the development of parks? Has the mayor met with city school officials to see coordinate usage of school playgrounds for city sponsored recreation activities during non school hours? Has the mayor met with the city planning department to establish safe neighborhood parks and recreation zones?

    June 20, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael R.

      Of course not because that would make too much sense. It's much easier and cheaper to control the population by taking away than it is to give.

      June 20, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Crescendo

    Mayor Bloomberg is Tweedle Dee and this Mayor is Tweedle Dumber.

    Why are things screwed up? Because some of the dumbest people in America turn to politics for employment – and even dumber people elect them!

    June 20, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • pct10

      That is why Cambridge is known as the People's Republic of Cambridge. The same town that banned the Boy Scouts from collecting socks for soldiers, because by doing so the Scouts supported the war.

      June 20, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
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