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.

Post by:
Filed under: Fast Food • Food • Health • Massachusetts
soundoff (754 Responses)
  1. walter hiller

    I never ever thought I'd be living in a country where idiot politicians are trying to dictate how much I eat. This is a first step towards something much worse. First soda is restricted, then maybe banned, then food portion sizes would come next, maybe ban ice cream too. Or maybe bacon that is linked with cancer. We are in America. It is my right to drink and eat what I want. These people need to be kicked out of office. Maybe we should all vote to take away Bloombergs helicopter because its a waste of resources ans it doesn't serve the public good. Well see how he whines then. Or take away the Cambridge mayors limo. I hate these men and anyone that thinks the way they do and i hope they get voted out of office never to return soon.

    June 20, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Krystle

      Unfortunately, this country is no longer free. We are becoming more of a dictated country like in the days of the Soviet Union. Most of this reason is because of idiots who are scare of the lame scare tactics our country give to people which I don't buy.

      June 20, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Voice in the Wilderness

      I wouldn't worry. Most of us in MA laugh at Cambridge. And that's saying something, considering how liberal this state is as a whole. The People's Republic of Cambridge is a city whose officials have entirely too much time on their hands.

      June 20, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      If it's you're right to eat what you want, then I guess it is my right to pay sky-rocketing health insurance to keep living the way I want.

      June 21, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. marctheduck

    Guess what, Barry. You know those morbidly obese people whose insurance the rest of us have to pay for? They are poor liberals who don't take care of themselves. They smoke, eat junk, and engage in all kinds of risky behaviors. They have child after child that they can't afford to raise. And there are millions of them. They never get out of the cycle of having government pay their way, and that goes on generation after generation. Since the government pays for those 20 million-plus poor liberals go ahead and legislate what they can and can't do. But for us Republicans who are forever paying the lion's share of the bill for all you liberals (and condoms now???) ... we don't need your help running our lives thank you very much.

    June 20, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BigE

    Oh. One more thing. Ladies and Gentleman it's time to come off of this whole "my political party is the grooviest" nonsense. It has not made sense to vote a straight party ticket, well, ever. The politicians are out to advance their political careers, not to make life any better for the citizens of this once great country of ours. Don't get me wrong here. Though I'm sure some of you will. I am a patriot. I wish to restore our rights and put the power back where it belongs. In the hands of the people. Not those who seek it to fulfill their own ends.

    June 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. justconcerned

    I can't believe that the Government wants everyone to become a pork or turkey eating dog. Sugar is not bad for everyone. We are not the same systems. This is only for reserved Christians of certain churches. These are refreshments that keep us alert and active for our chemotherapized and radiated central nervous systems. We do not want to execute our entire life in sleep mode and at 30% or less of our actual efficiency. These drinks are considered refreshment (although expensive) in other countries. They are appreciated greatly. It is for that reason that the ignorant US is being made to lose all its luxury. The will make you eat beef jerkey, pork products and eliminate coca cola. They will make you drink alcohol that is even worse for the CNS. This is so that you won't ask too many questions. It is not about real nutrition. It is only about drug peddling. Think a little before you ban refills on cola – one of mankind's greatest drinks invented ever. Even better than coffee. And we want our regular natural sugar and not those weird cancerous products that don't get absorbed by our systems.

    June 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aimee

      Cola is bad for you, bottom line. Find a healthier alternative to staying alert, i.e. coffee, ginseng, ginko biloba supplements. Cola is loaded with high fructose corn syrup, which is by no means a natural sugar when you read how it's made. And people drink cola after cola after cola. If no one tries to stop the obsesity epidemic, then nothing will change. The cola addiction and abuse the nation now suffers is definitely related to the nation's weight problem. Don't be so ignorant. Aside from also eating less, Europe doesn't do free refills at all. They're not fat. Go figure. Don't defend glutany. People can have one Coke and be done. It won't kill them.

      June 21, 2012 at 4:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. justconcerned

    i also think this move is politically motivated by obama's camp to create hostility towards bloomberg. the senility of the mayor is proportional to what he is doing – political suicide. a country that was built on cola products like cola products. the cocaine was removed from it. it is only sugar and caffeine – what we thrive on. let us have our refills.

    June 20, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Steve

    If OSHA doesn't consider me giving free refills to my customers as a hazard, then the government shouldn't tell me what the hell to do with my own business.

    June 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Obama Mama

    Now the government is telling us what we can buy and how much. Rationing on a large scale is coming with engineered and modified foods. None of its business.
    I wish that the restaurants would ban together and sue these controlling politicians.

    June 20, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Russ

    I am a liberal democrat, healthy eater, and believe you are what you eat, but this is too much government intrusion into the lives of people. It should stay out, and if people want to eat or drink themselves to death, they should have that right. Besides, there are many other ways to mess with your health than with large drinks. What are they going to do, ban all of them?

    June 21, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Hana

      I have to agree... too much. Way too much.

      June 21, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joanne Keenan

    Didn't they already try something like this in the 20s & 30s already? Called Prohibition, I think....there's a reason it didn't work then and it won't (and shouldn't) work now. It's not a liberal or conservative issue – it's a freedom issue, it's an American issue, it's a rights issue.

    June 21, 2012 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jim

    Everyone knows that drinking a gallon of soda a day is not good for them. We should have the freedom to make our own choices and be allowed to reap the rewards or face the consequences of those choices. We are a free and educated society and we don't need any more "protection" from the goverment at the expense of our freedoms.

    June 21, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  11. victor allan lee

    The sugar is a problem but the acids that is used iis even a much larger and more dangerous it will be in the smaller drinks as well diet sodas that contain acids are just as bad as those with sugar.

    June 21, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. jesuschrist

    Really? Is this even being entertained? With all of the issues our country faces today isn't there something else people can glom on to? What about the fat people...what about he stupid people? Give me a break, please.

    June 21, 2012 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. KaiXan

    Who the heck are these people to tell me what to do with my life?!! I'm 45 and I admit, 25 pounds overweight. I went through weight control in the Army. You can eat this, you can eat that, you should weight this much or that much. What they never taken into account is body build. Some people are build with a light bone structure, some of us are not. I am the culmination of generations of peasants. I am built for heavy, hard labor. Now matter how much weight I lose, I will never be a size 6. Period. I am tired of my government trying to tell me that I must weigh a 110 pounds with clothes on and cannot ingest more sugar, meat, coffee, or bread as I want. Stay out of my kitchen, stay out of my naughty bits and stay out of my brothers face. We need to remember it is our choice. Our will. Otherwise we will wake up and find ourselves way past China and knee deep in Fatherland.

    June 21, 2012 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. Barbara

    "Our environment is full of way too may temptations...this is one temptation that isn't really necessary"...OH GIVE ME A BREAK. If someone really wants to drink a ton of soda, they'll pay for the refills, which will probably be at a cheap enough price for the drinker to shrug off. If someone wants to eat themselves into heart disease and size 20 pants, they're going to do it, regardless of how all the unnecessary temptations are regulated. Stop worrying about how much fast food people put in their stomachs, its nobody's business but theirs.

    June 21, 2012 at 3:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. Al Karl

    Another splendid example of too much government. In this example with too much time on their hands!

    June 21, 2012 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35