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. Robert

    This is what happens when people don't pay attention to who they vote for.

    June 22, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. John Flushing

    This law is a waste of the government's resources and energy. If people want to have free refills, then I say, LET THEM HAVE FREE REFILLS. If they wind up gaining a large amount of weight, then that's their own stupidity.

    June 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. woops

    new england is a giant mini skirt

    June 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The courage to make tough decisions

    I understand the obesity crisis but I don't need big or small gov't dictating to me. If you want to manage the healthcare crisis put it on the shoulders of those who caused the crisis. No more guaranteed issue healthcare charge the unhealthy higher premiums and don"t cover emergency room visits.

    June 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cutedog2

    “Our environment is full of way too many temptations,” Davis said. “This is one temptation that isn't really necessary.” So are politicians that believe that it is their duty to ram their values down other people's throats. Want to ban something, how about disposable water bottles. They cause far more harm than good to everybody.

    June 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Raven

      Government needs to stay the hell out of people personal life. The government has no right to tell people what they can have what they cant have. i look forward to a civil war! I really do!

      June 23, 2012 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. ArmyofOne

    Obviously law makers have not learned from the"Obama Care" experience if we're discussing this. When does John and Jane Doe return to full American status again. Sounds like an infringement on my civil liberties. I can't have a large soda, but I can have a large candy bar. If we allow gov't to continue down this path where will it end? When are we, the people, going to take back our lives and push gov't out? I suppose we elect them to make make our lives more miserable with stupid laws and they have nothing better to debate on. What's next? Are they gonna force me to exercise 3 times a week?

    June 22, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ArmyofOne

    The government is in dire financial ruins. Solution: Tax the people through commodities for smaller portions. Cigarettes are continuously taxed but we don't hear about the health care cost going down. Gas is another, but pay nearly $4.00 a gallon.
    It makes sense to government to raise rates and generate income with stupid laws for their benefit such as cutting the size of sodas and making us pay twice what they're worth. Perhaps we cannot decide for ourselves what is best for us as individuals. If we can't decide for ourselves about what size soft drinks to digest, how can our decision-making be trusted to vote in an election which could decide more important issues.
    Perhaps the government has already dipped into the big pockets of the health care industry and this law makes somebody's pockets grow even deeper. According the them we are too dumb to know what is good for us, but when election time rolls around we're pretty damn smart in their books. Sounds like imperialism to me. There's power in numbers. Ban together to Ban Election for 2012.

    June 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dale

    Too many people eat too much candy at Halloween so let's ban it-people are gluttons at Thanksgiving so let's ban it–Christmas and New Years have too many high calorie parties, ban them–movies means popcorn-ban them!

    June 22, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. marcos

    weight problems won't be fixed by regulating soda...... this is ridiculous, people just need to wake the hell up and take control over temptations and their personal lives. if they want less sugar in their diet.

    June 23, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dude

    what they need to do is make the portions smaller on food items and offer healthier choices. I even remember burger king having veggie patties... i am not vegetarian but they were in fact grilled on the same grill as the meat was... everything has been made bigger... combos come with small fries and drink... what is the first thing they ask at the drive through... "would you like to up size your value meal for $blah blah." I think there should be more regulations. Even today we all know that high fructose corn syrup is the worst sugar for your body, but just about everything has it now. Even look at other countries especially asian countries there is very little if any obesity at all... it is not about taking our freedom away it is just about having some regulation and standards. I think everyone on this post that disagrees with this... well what is it that you weigh and that would be the reason why it seems like an awful idea.

    June 23, 2012 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. Slimming Treatments

    Unquestionably imagine that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be at the web the easiest factor to take note of. I say to you, I certainly get irked at the same time as other folks consider concerns that they plainly don't realize about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and also outlined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thank you

    June 23, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. John Freeman

    Why don't we just fly the Soviet flag and be done! Sickening and makes the heart grow faint to realize that we live in a nation now where innumerable leaders have no concept of liberty, which became ours at such cost of suffering and blood.! This mayor should be thrown out of office by the voters, recalled, just as quickly as the process can be arranged.

    June 23, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Frog

    "No, the government shouldn't tell me what to drink" has the Vote by a landslide. The stats don't lie! Now I would like to propose that this mayor be deported to Cuba, Burma, Red China etc.

    June 23, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Greg

    You are not going to achieve a healthy population by banning things/legislation. Good health is only going to be possible if the individual chooses to adopt a healthy lifestyle (good diet and exercise, on a _regular_ basis). What might work is EDUCATING the public to change what they want. If a person does not want to be healthy, no amount of legislation is going to make them healthy. All these moronic proposals do is violate our rights/freedoms. Now, stop proposing absurd laws just to try to look good for re-election – they will most likely get struck down later, and end up wasting taxpayer money.

    June 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Johnny Shiloh

    How sad American people are for just standing idly by and putting up these stupid laws that are regulating every facet of their lives down to every last detail. Our ancestor endured every hardship and spared nothing, not even their own lives, to defend their freedom, but this generation stands meekly by at their leaders won't even allow them a free refill of soda! By submitting to such tyranny, while the nanny state leads them around by the nose, the day will come when the state even starts telling the citizenry what day to go to church.

    June 23, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      I live in a city or call it a town and we all want to go as green as we can right? well someone here had a wind mill installed at their home as utilities here are 10 times higher than down south, and rather than be praised they were condemned because a couple of others said they couldn't sleep because of the decibel level.
      After weeks of testing the city council in all of their wisdom and power said the noise level was adequate and not really intrusive, but I ask what if they decided the opposite would that mean a 20,00.00 dollar investment down the drain?
      It's damned if you do and damned if you don't.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
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