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. Steve

    Where was this much uproar when they tried to pass the patriot act or go to war in iraq illegally? Probably too busy gulping down soda and packing on pounds. This country used to be such a proud place!

    June 21, 2012 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. thereverendwho

    What? Are we really serious here. Some of you think that it's a great idea for the government to ban a refill? I'm sorry, I though this was a free country. Are we going to have a ban on how much food we can consume in a day as well? How about a law that requires all of us to exercise for an hour a day? I usually avoid soda but NO government should be able to tell me what I can and cannot purchase and consume without first deeming it as a controlled substance.

    June 21, 2012 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
  3. JerseyJeff

    Stop the insanity! Why are we blaming the soda when it's the person that decides to put it to their lips!

    This is still America, right? If. You're a fatty, here's a hint – don't eat so much! It's you're fault your fat, not Coke for putting sugar in the drinks, not McDonalds for frying potatoes and not PizzaHut for having a 'meat lovers' pizza on the menu!

    June 21, 2012 at 4:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. jim

    Don't these fools in office have anything better to do. Do us all a favor go back to your office and go back to sleep and when you wake and can come up with something that is news worthy then let me know.

    June 21, 2012 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
    • jose

      yep, some of these characters like Mayor Bloomberg are so interested in the attention they get from the news people that every day they come with a new stupidity to be in the news. I wish they had something to offer the people. but you know these idiots have to come up with something to get their daily feed of attention, what a shame on us for electing morons to office

      June 21, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. d.s.

    I knew next would be refills and then after that a ban "ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT-BUFFETS"!!!!! I have officially just "lost the will to go on"!!!!!

    June 21, 2012 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. PaulTinEG

    If the bans on drink sizes and refills are allowed to become law, then you can stand-by and allow the govmint to control every other aspect of your lives, including the rationing of goods, services, vacations, speech, etc.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
    • jose

      well that is next, just wait

      June 21, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. cleT

    you get fat whne you take in much more calories than you burn. would be better off with a muzzle than trying to "regulate" it. self control people. Amerika seems to lack it.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. Hana

    Barry G.
    "If they don't ban them, at least put a tax on them, to pay for the catastrophic medical care they'll need, due to obesity, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, etc..

    Otherwise we’ll have to pay for their irresponsible behavior."

    We are all assuming that regulating one type of drink and one size of drink in food establishments will reduce disease... does this seem simplistic to anyone else? There are multiple factors that cause these illnesses. Are the potential political ramifications of allowing the gov. to make this type of decree worth stemming one of many causes of obesity? I haven't heard of a study yet that shows sugary drinks are the sole cause of obesity. Only a contributing factor. Drink too much of anything and your health will suffer... even water.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mel

    Why don't they just arrest all us fat people and be done with it. Take us all off to fat farms and force us to eat nothing but veggies. That's want it's going to come down to.

    June 21, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. james.michael

    I think this is a good move and the rest of the states should follow. We have taken too many advantages of our freedom and we ourselves need to be regulated. It's funny how people cry the government is limiting us day by day, but when those people find themselves in a bind, they then in turn cry for that government to help them... I too am not a fan of our government, but i am also not a fan of the paths "we Americans" are taking in our lives.

    June 21, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. Little Man

    Stay out of my life. We need to clean house next election.

    June 21, 2012 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dreamy

    The law makers are so ignorant. IF they think that banning a large soda at a restaurant is going to cure obesity they are completely missing the mark. Obesity is caused by lack of exercise and high fat, high calorie diet throughout the day – not just one meal at McDonald's. If the person is still consuming more than 1,200 calories during the day and not exercising they are still going to be obese regardless of the limitation of ONE meal they that may eat out in a day. COMPLETE IDIOCY BY LAWMAKERS – that is why our country is in such a complete mess – we have educated idiots running it.

    June 21, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. jose

    why are we giving these people in government to infringe in our rights? we are screwed by the bussinesses and we rarely get anything cheap these days. the way I see this is another way to ally with the bussinesses to give us less for the money. I bet you the price of the drinks will still be the same, but now if this ban passes we will get less for the money. it is incredible what these people who get to office think they can do and tell the citizens what to do. we can't allow this to happen

    June 21, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jay

    Typical Republican move. Always trying to infringe on our rights with their government programs. Taking care of the criminals that serve Large sodas. Pretty sure Romney will propose a National ban on the evildoers that serve free refills. Of course, that will require an agency to monitor compliance and new taxes to pay for it. But as Romney will point out, that will create jobs so it's a good strategy.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. OregonTom

    How much tax money has this proposal wasted already?

    June 21, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
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