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. HPN

    Now people know how us smokers feel. Why don't we just cut to the chase and create a fat tax based on height and weight and be done with it.

    June 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      We already have a 'tax' on obesity: Higher insurance rates. And we all pay it.

      June 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. D

    I sure am glad government officials are here to prevent me from giving into a temptation. I'm married, and see good looking women all the time. Maybe my junk should be cut off to remove that temptation.

    I sure would hate for individuals to be forced to execute an individual choice. Our brains are not capable. But we are capable of being a politician and determining what "the common folk" can and can't do.

    June 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JJ

    You're for a ban on refills? Then I'm for term limits. Simple.

    June 25, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. talbet

    Have they ever heard of diet soda?

    June 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. feduphere

    Are politicians losing their minds?

    June 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Yes, politicians are losing their minds and its time to stand up and vote them out of office. THIS IS COMMUNISM when people start trying to tell you how to live.

      June 26, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • For the love of war..

      When we find ourselves or somebody we love in the hospital with health problems then we'd wish something was done.. Supersize you? of course, not me for sure :-/

      June 27, 2012 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. elizabeth

    This is getting a bit ridiculous. Are we going to police whether people are refilling with sugared or diet drinks for example? What if one mixes half and half? Can you have two drinks then? Egads... we will need "pop police" at every soda fountain!

    June 25, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iluvatar

      Yep, nex thing u know, they'll be policing shoe sizes lol

      June 26, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. lalaa

    this is insane. what are they gonna try and ban next? christmas?

    June 25, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. 0rangeW3dge

    Brown Shirts in Government...
    You see that they don't tell you what is the Mayor's party affiliation, we know Bloomberg is a Republican.
    What is funny is that they won't regulate Wall Street or Banking or large corporations, but they're just falling all over themselves trying to regulate morality or social issues.
    Honestly, the politicians are getting totally backwards in this generation. Someone needs to reprint the employees handbook for public servants, they work for us not the other way around...

    June 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Ummm...Bloomberg is actually an independent, not a Republican. He appeared once on the party ticket, but has said he is not "of one party or the other". He is a Liberal on social issues, a "Conservative" on most fiscal policy, and all over the place on everything else. That is why he was never seriously courted by the Left or Right for a Senate/VP spot...

      June 25, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Son of Liberty

    The government should only take power for those things the people are unable to do, not for things they are unwilling to do. If an individual wants to indulge in multiple free refills of absurdly large sugary beverages that offer no nutritional value, then it is their perogative. The American people need to start standing up and let their voices be heard that overreaching government policies are not to be accepted. An individual's freedoms should not be stripped away, even if it is for their 'good'. We should work with our neighbors to better each other, not bludgen the other to make them act as we believe they should.

    June 25, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • bxchef

      I completely agree with you. Its our choice, and to impose restrictions on our personal habits is fascist for lack of better words and an abomination. New York City is supposed to be a beacon of freedom not a testing ground for political power plays. It's a shame that we let that maniac change the term limits of his own job but to allow him to think that he represents our best interest is irresponsible behavior for every single one of us who lives and pays taxes in NYC.

      Maybe its time to move.. I definitely dont want my children being raised under this burning roof.

      June 26, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John Scopes

    It's like watching the Olympics. Same stuff every four years, different faces. Well, some of them' I'd love to see Harry Reid leave political life and civilian ares for good. He can hide in the mountains.

    We're at the part in the games where very controversial but [less] important issues are coming out to be used as a misdirector. Last time was flag burning and anthems in schools. The flavor of the month now seems to be how big your Slurpee is allowed to get in a public space.

    June 26, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. 0rangeW3dge

    Fat Tax – – oh, what's so wrong with that? Censor specific words and the context that they may be used in – Oh, what's so wrong with that? Search and seizure without probable cause or proof of a crime? – Oh, what's so wrong about that? Sabotaging the processes of government for political gain? – Oh, that's OK as long as it's our "team". . .

    June 26, 2012 at 4:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Gearloose

    There's a reason the Democratic Republic of Cambridge acquired its name.

    June 26, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. Free Soda

    I'm running out of words to describe this type of policy. "Insane", "rediculous", "oppresive." These words have all been used so many times that they don't have the same ring to them. But it is all of those things and more. This nation was founded on freedom. Anyone who seeks to control what people put into their own bodies are against the principles of freedom. It does not matter if it's a public health issue. If you want to kill yourself slowly that is your individual right. I'm tired of policy decisions being based mass statistics. We are a nation who is supposed to embrace individual freedom. I do not care about improving the stats if it means another level of control and anyone who does has no regard for even their own freedom EVEN IF you have never had a soda in your life.

    June 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. babyju

    i think they should rather come up with a better educational program on educating why it is not a good idea to drink such beverages instead of controlling how people should live their lives. too much of a dictatorship and this is not what America stands for.

    June 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ben

    I am a progressive liberal and I agree that sugar drinks are not healthy but it is wrong to dictate portion size. It would be far better to give incentives for healthier foods.

    June 26, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joshua Feyereisen

      I agree fully !!! I don't even drink sugar soda personally (I drink diet) but I still don't think those that do should be forced, to not do so.

      June 27, 2012 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
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