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. MouseD

    But isnt this the same as you all complained and threw smokers out of Bars and other places....that is same as this now...I warned you years ago once they got done with smokers you fat folks were next....and I am right ....this is just the start.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joshua the Agnostic

    Let's ban all soda, but keep cigarettes legal. That makes sense right?

    June 21, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. John1

    This is the fallback plan because they couldnt ban them from foodstamp purchases. The program said it would be too hard to do. They mean well, but they just don't have many real options to get their state/city to be healthy.

    More states should challange the EBT issue. I mean, why the hell can you buy margarita mix with it? Really? It's just stupid. It's 2012, you can't tell me there isn't a realatively simple solution for this. Even if you had to drive out to some bad woods gas station to make "illegal" EBT purchases, so what? Most of what I witness is within walking distance of work or home. It's a help program, not a free whatever you want program.

    June 21, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      It's a help program, not a free whatever you want program.
      I beg to differ, it isn't a help program and is a free whatever you want program.

      There is always a way around restrictions. Ask any teenager. You can't legislate absolute control, it never works.

      June 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. R. Klaus

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

    People are ADULTS, good ma'am. You are not the nanny or parent of anyone's diet or "temptations." The level of respect for other fully grown human beings by people like this is sickening.

    June 21, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. L

    What a liberal! People should take responsibility for themselves!! The government should not regulate our day to day activities.

    June 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. L

    Great post!! So true. Yes, keep brownies 🙂

    June 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. KRIS

    Correct,the parents need to do their job !! I watch every day supposed adults, stuffing their kids full of garbage because they are to LAZY to go home and cook a nutritional meal.

    June 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ashley

    Why doesn't our government stay out of our lives and let us drink whatever we want. I like soda and if I want to get fat just let me.

    June 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      Yes, you can drink all the soda you want and get as fat as you want but when you get so big you cant work a normal job, or you start having medical problems, it is MY money that I pay to the government and insurance that goes to pay YOUR medical bills!

      June 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don ARRO

      Perhaps the Mayor should police her own weight problem before she tells others what to drink or how much to drink.

      June 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • nickcnn1

      That's fine, actually. Just be sure to let yourself die after your obesity related complications force you to drain your assets and get on medicaid. If you don't want the government to restrict your diet then don't accept government assistance when your health declines as a result of obesity.

      June 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rightthing

    Free refilled always entice people to get their full bang for the buck.
    Nobody can resist getting an extra cup eventhough they know deep down it is bad for you.
    You greedy instinct always win.
    In the end, Coke and Pepsi company wins and you got fat and die early.
    The Govt is right in this case.

    June 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kathleen

    I believe the FDA should ban corn syrup in unnecessary food such as hot dogs, sodas, chips,and etc. Why do you need sugar in bread? This is the real reason why there is such a huge percentage of fat people.

    June 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ts

    I agree with the motive behind this, but this is totally the wrong way to go about it.

    A huge tax on soda (like $1 / 16 oz, something significant) just like on cigarettes would be far more productive, would generate revenue for the city, and would have less of a "the govt is telling us what we can and can't do" vibe to it.

    As for the people should have the right to make their own choices thing.. I should have the right to be able to walk down the street without seeing ugly fat asses who are 100 lbs overweight.

    June 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. john v phipps

    Give me a break. What will stop any business from offering combo meals with burger, deep fried butter, dessert cake, and three small drinks?

    June 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Amom

    Banning donuts will be next.

    June 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. V Smart

    banning free refills!!! health trim.... buy one get one free

    June 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. rhyno

    This is extremely idiotic. It's one thing to ban soft drinks from schools, because children are still impressionable, but this current/proposed soft drink ban is one of the stupidest ideas I have ever heard. The problem is not soda, it's people's unhealthy mindsets. What's next? Cookies and candy? The government needs to spend it's time and resources promoting healthy programs to teach the american people how to eat healthy and exercise effectively and not focus on specific food items. Let's face it, an unhealthy person who craves sugary drinks will get their "fix" one way or another, so simply removing this variable from the equation is futile... another variable (unhealthy food option) will take it's place.

    June 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
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