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. Nathan Bolos

    America is turning more and more commy by the day..

    June 26, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Todd

    Must be taking after Obama - trying to tell people how to live their lives... Dictators!

    June 27, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. albert

    Its none of the mayors business, these bean head politicians have lost reality

    June 27, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joshua Feyereisen

    This goes way beyond any politics so lets step back a moment and instead of trying to say it is a democrat or republican thing, lets look at it in general. Who on earth thinks they have the right to decide for us what we can and cannot eat and drink and yes I said eat & drink because if by some wild whim this ban was to pass and the proponents where to get drunk on their own power over it, who is to say where exactly it would stop. After all I think that french fries and cheeseburgers are also causing an obesity so lets ban them also and why stop there lets ban popcorn with butter and any product that has gluten (pretty much every food in existence) in it while we are at it. Next up on the list is freedom to decide your own transportation because smog is causing a health epedemic. This is pathetic and even if it does pass in NY I doubt other states will follow suit like NY so they will be stuck being the political pariah's of the country. In the end this ban has nothing to do with partisanship, in stead it is nothing short of anti-democratic no matter how you look at it.

    June 27, 2012 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. Salad Spinner

    We should ban toilet paper too, it's a waste of resources.

    June 27, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  6. mamoo10

    give it up Mayor!...on to more important issues.

    June 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Luke

      Hey, if we're all going to be on the government dole for healthcare, then I guess the government has to make sure they do everything that can possibly be done to keep it cheap. The side effects of being fat are a strain on the system.

      June 27, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cedric

    republican or democrat does ot matter in this case.. If i want to buy a huge drink at a fast food joint, or anywhere else for that matter, i should be able to buy it without government interference. If i want to get ten free refills of dr. peopper with my oversized tripple whoppper meal thats my buisness. so what if fat people are a strain on the taxpayers, the government itself is the biggest strain on taxpayers in history

    June 28, 2012 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
    • T.J.

      Correct

      June 28, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Charles

      A question to frame this argument further.

      What is worse for you smoking a few joints a day or drinking 2-3 16 ounce sodas a day? Laws are based on what is culturaly excepted to be bad for you and society as a whole. Soda and even beer is woven into the fabric of American culture as a freedom that does not cause enough risk to outlaw. Most educated American mothers today are not allowing thier kids to drink soda. Ideally a law should not be needed to help understand the systemic obesity endemic in which soda is the #1 offender. However, a law that restricts use has proven to bring awareness into the cultural physche and begin a shif of change. The restriction laws for cigerettes is an example of awarness building that helped Americans understand the effects of smoking. Soda 20 years from now will be looked upon like smoking...we are just not there yet.

      June 28, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. Doug

    In order to get any food at a fast food restaraunt you will have to step on a scale and bring along a copy of your blood chemistry report.

    June 28, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. AtheistHuman

    How about a ban on billionaire mayors? Hey Mikeee can I borrow $25,000?

    June 28, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  10. net

    Ok, the mayors ought to the stick to doing their jobs and stop trying to be the food police.

    June 28, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  11. carlin123

    Why shouldn't the government tell you how much soda you can drink? They tell you you have to buy Health Care don't they?

    June 28, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  12. Friendly Uncle Dave

    This has gotten into the zone of ridiculous government overreaching. What can we do to stop this nonsense?

    June 28, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  13. SickAndTired

    No doubt all of these people enacting these ridiculous laws all call themselves "Pro Choice". Hypocrites. They are only "Pro Choice" when the choice agrees with their narrow view of how everyone should behave.

    June 28, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. mrsmass

    what's next? this is only going to get worse.

    June 28, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • WOW

      Knew it was going to get bad when Michelle Obama starting waging war against fat kids. The press has glorified it, and now the mayor is imitating the philosophy that fat is ugly. How insensitive is this?

      June 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sean

    This all sounds too familiar. Does anyone remember seeing the movie DEMOLITION MAN. In this movie there's a scene that covers exactly this. In the movie laws are passed that basically say "anything that is not good for you, is illegal." Sylvester Stallone's character requests salt and gets the line.

    Right now, it's starting with sugary drinks and larger beverage sizes, but where will it end. If these laws are passed and start to pick up momentum, we could potentially see unintended consequences that impede Americans basic rights. It's also anti captialistics which is what this country was built on.

    It's also a double standard. You will make sugary drinks and refills illegal, but smoking, drinking, and extreme sports, ect. Are still perfectly legal, even though the cause hundreds of thousands of deaths per year both directly and indirectly?

    It's a crazy time!

    June 28, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
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