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. Andrea

    I drink diet soda and I get a large every time. Zero calories/not adding to any obesity problem/staying hydrated. Weight Watchers counts diet soda, in fact, in your daily water intake!

    June 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tkret

    Two things:
    1> Some people are overweight, and not because of what they eat or drink. It's called genetics.
    2> What is the next thing they government is going to take away from us (in our own interest of course)? Remember we are not smart enough to decide for ourselves, but some elected official thinks he or she is smarter than us.
    Let them get away with this, and don't say you were not warned.

    June 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tkret

    cattdogg -
    Bloomberg backs Romney???

    June 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rick

    This is what you get when you start pushing anti-smoking laws... a license for the government to mandate whatever other health laws they want.

    Harvard will just have to invent a non-sugary Mountain Dew to cope.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. George

    Why do people in NYC elect creeps like this?? What is funniest to me about the BIG cups is have you ever noticed the MAJORITY of people with the big cups have DIET SODA in them.

    June 21, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      What's funniest to me is that you notice that most BIG cups have DIET SODA in them! Wow! What's your next trick, knowing what kind of gas cars have in their tanks? Use this talent of yours for something productive, like maybe three card monte! I mean it is NYC!

      June 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DonDriver


    June 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DonDriver

    Why wont this site allow you to reply? you suck cnn

    June 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CaptainCatCaptureraptorlaserlongnamenecromancer22

    Well, it really IS unhealthy; and constantly tempts people to go for more, unnecessary sugar in their diet.
    But honestly, I still think that freedom of what to serve, and freedom of choice ranks top here.
    It is the restaurant's choice if they want to serve refills; and whoever is buying the large drink, is paying for the large drink.
    It's all up to choice.

    June 22, 2012 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bayousara

    PLEASE DO drink yourselves to death. One less obese body taking up space. But if you do survive, please don't ask the goverment to pay for your health care. Government=the People.

    June 22, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Lyn

      Preserving peoples' health is our civic responsibility. But, really, do drinks make that much impact? If we're going to do it, let's do it. From now on, you can only have one glass of wine with dinner, but no steak or other fatty meat, and definitely no big deserts. The pizza man can only deliver one small pizza per person in the house. You can only buy one candy bar at the store at a time, and can only buy twinkies once a week. Liquor stores can only sell a six-pack of beer, not a case, and those huge bottles of Smirnoff's will have to go. You can't smoke closer than 500 feet to any other human being, and big trucks and busses with their emissions can only take special roads where others won't interact with them. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceburg....

      June 22, 2012 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. A, Kat

    Welcome , be happy. Big Brother is now both watching you and feeding you. The thought police are already forming in the name of "political correctness", Hail Caesar, Hail the King, Hail....what was that German guys' name?

    June 22, 2012 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tony

    Step back, everyone. Way back. This is "feel-good fascism."

    June 22, 2012 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. JayT

    With ALL the issues facing communities (National, State, County, City) THIS is what these yahoos decide to focus on!?!?! Absurd! Vote them all out of office next election.

    June 22, 2012 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Common Sense

    "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."

    Basically she is saying that "We, the members of government will line all of the non-conforming against the wall and make them compliant to our demands." Let's talk about the "Right Thing To Do," is it right to harbor illegals and farm out work to them for ridicuously low wages? Bold solution, tough actions!...give me a flipping break! Now sugar water is a threat...but illegals aren't? It is obvious the mayor has no idea what America is about...she sounded more like a communist than a capitalist!

    June 22, 2012 at 6:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Common Sense

    I think that this statement presented by Les Too should be applied to every page of comments:
    “If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as a sorry state as the souls who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

    June 22, 2012 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Brett

      Common Sense: Good point, even better quote. Oh it must have been so nice back in the Thomas Jefferson days when there were no fat fu*ks roaming around this land like human-cows, disgusting! How about we send all the obese to some sort of FAT ISLAND, they can all fight it out there for the last sugary pineapple. Oh wait, they have no muscle to support this. USA!

      June 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dave

    This is prepared for many more restrictions.
    just wait til you cant buy or sell without the mark of the beast ... yep its coming .. make it ur business to find out what it means

    June 22, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
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