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. idunno

    No one is complaining that kids under 18 can't smoke or under 21 can't drink. But it's going too far to regulate what you can put in your body? What? God, sometimes the people of this country are just outright moronic. "Just like the liberals to tell us what we can and can't put in our body" ... Ya, as if the government just started regulating what people can and can't put in their bodies. You can't put cocaine in your body, you can't put heroin in your body.

    So what's so wrong with promoting a healthy lifestyle? What's so wrong with telling people to suck it and stop drinking their diabetes in a can? Pop is disgusting anyway. It rots your teeth and gives you diabetes and heart problems... hmm sounds like a lot illegal drugs, maybe we should make those drugs legal because the government shouldn't regulate what we put in our bodies. (except pot, pot is ok)

    June 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go away

      I use to drink 3 or more 16 oz soda's a day. Stuff was taking over my life. I couldn't function without it. I was addicted to it. I stopped drinking the stuff 3 years ago and I feel so much better. Lost a lot of wait and my blood pressure went down as a result

      June 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Kids under 18 should be able to drink and smoke all they want. Its up to parents to make sure they don't want to.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • carpenterman123

      I'll smoke to that.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • T.J.

      All drugs should be legal. It worked incredibly well for Portugal. But, by all means, continue promoting your "ban culture" mentality. Sheep.

      June 28, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. Smells Like B.S.

    I don’t subscribe to the either the republican or democratic parties, I think they’re both a joke. However, I will say that the day the government can tell us how much soda we can drink is a sad, cold day for this country. If this “soda” law comes to fruition, it will set a precedent. Other state and local governments will feel they can impose similar stupid laws. This needs to be fought against. It starts with soda but how much of our personal freedom are we willing to lose? The obesity problem should be dealt with by physicians and education!

    June 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RoboKnuckle

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

    What's next? Banning low cut blouses, mini-skirts, and rock-n-roll?

    June 20, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Trader Joe

    My general feeling is that the government should not try and decide what things a person is allowed to consume, but it also should not be expected to pay the healthcare costs for a fatty that can't say no to 2 liters of Coca Cola every day.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave in Portland

      That's not your choice. Until the day that they tell boozers they have to stop at one beer or smokers they have to stop at one smoke, they have no right to legislate simple things like soda.

      I drink Diet Pepsi myself. It has no calories. Are they going to tell me I can't get a refill either?

      June 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • T.J.

      Bingo!

      June 28, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Rabbit One

    these dudes are the real health care advocates because they are fighting the unhealthy things that corporations have caused us to desire

    June 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jo

    Who in the hell does the Mayor think he is. Did he have a bad childhood or something. I understand there is a weight problem in America, but to start banning things will make it worse. People will get there soda's one way or another. So now it will just cause people to spend more money as they will buy twice as much to get what they want

    June 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Peter

    I think if we where to dig further, we would find that all these mayors are all East block USSR comrads sent here by Putin as part of his MASTER PLAN

    June 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • carpenterman123

      They'll be the first to bootleg it.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Christine

    OMG My time machine works !!
    It's 1920 again
    It's like Amendment XVIII with just few details changed ...

    History really does repeat itself doesn't it ?

    June 20, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bob

    sieg heil!
    Davis said: “This is one temptation that isn’t really necessary.”

    the government should restrict personal liberty when there is overwhelming reasons to do so.

    it should never do so because a particular choice 'isnt really necessary'...

    June 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    This kind of BS has got stop. Sounds like this Mayor is in cahoots with local businesses to increase sales of drinks, which is all banning refills would accomplish. The government has far betters things to attend to then telling me whether or no I can refill my soda.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DEH TOOK ER JOBS

    This is worthless...You really want to fight obesity...start charging fat people more to eat.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tio Franco

      LMAO!! Like *that* would hold up in court!

      June 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Time to BOOT The Gov.

      Why not? They do it on airlines.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. SMDog

    Ummm, so why aren't people able to police themselves if they want to be healthy? Going on a diet shouldn't be mandated by the government. There are temptations everywhere, it doesn't mean we should make all of them illegal. This is really silly.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brett

    All Americans should be furious. It is not the Government's place to mandate what we can and cannot eat or drink, or how much. Regardless of how unhealthy a food product is, if it is legal, the government needs to stay out of it. Once this starts, we are now entering a slippery slope of no return....and there will be no way to control where this ends. You can already make an argument bacon and a million other food products are more unhealthy....are we really going to have taxpayer dollars mandating our food consumption. It's absolutely ridiculous.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adel

      You are absolutely right. What is happening to this country? Where is the freedom and liberty. This is only one of the many examples on why there must be limited government. Ridiculous

      June 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joe

    Barry G. your comment is goofy. Do we tax on every risk you take? Your biggest risk in life is driving a car but we don't tax every time you turn the key. In a time where people are going a year without a job and the government is hemorrhaging money we need political leaders that do something important. Taxes should never control behavor only raise funds. Political leaders need to get back to work and do things that matter.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • yaledelay

      don't tax every time you turn the key. – Manditory insurence is a tax.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • bigsmitty71

      @Joe:

      Not taxing every time you turn the key? Last I checked, turning the key in a car starts a process by which gasoline is used to power the vehicle. If you look at a gas pump next time you fill up, assuming you're not on your phone, take a look at how much of that price per gallon is in federal and state TAXES. So your first sentence, and your argument on the subject is actually the opposite of what you are trying to get across to people.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gospyro

    Problem or no problem, the REAL problem here is Big Brother telling us what we can and can't eat or drink. Yes there is a SERIOUS problem with obesity in this Country, but you can not legislate it away. One, it's just down right scary when a government starts telling you what you can and can't eat (welcome 1984) and two, it doesn't work. Education is the only real solution, but it's slow and it takes time and effort. All characteristics that the Government and in general the American people do not have. You can not legislate morality, you can not legislate eating healthy... it just doesn't work that way. (as we can all tell by how well Prohibition did with regards to stopping people from drinking) Can't believe no one pays any attention to history.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
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