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. cey

    Get ready for more of these bans now that the government is in control of healthcare. They now have an interest in what you eat and how many calories you burn.

    June 28, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. ken

    STP you do not see the slippery slope here, the government putting there nose in our business will not stop until we say enough is enough. It is pretty simple really it is a matter of our freedoms.

    June 28, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. Olivier

    Educate instead of prohibiting.

    June 28, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  4. Timothy

    Ah the slow march to communism. Today I am told I cannot have as much soft drink as I want because it is bad for me. Now I have to purchase, no not be taxed for, purchase healthcare whether or not I want it. What tomorrow? I can tell you. Soon you will see a systematic denial of rights. It won't come all at once, It isn't like tomorrow they will tell you that there is no right to free speech or that you cannot vote, but the day will come when we loose those rights. We absolutely must vote for Romeny and the Republicans this next election. I do not believe that Romeny will be a very good president. I also don't believe the Republicans have much to offer us, but they will not continue to erode our rights as American citizens. We must reject the tyranny of the Obama administration and the tyranny that it has incited amongst all of our elected officials. The Supreme Court these days is a joke. They will not protect us from tyranny as they did in the past. All that matters to them is their special interests and supporting the dictator, Obama.

    June 28, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Veronica

    Instead of banning each individual item of food / beverage.........why don't we just mandate exercise classes for fat people who make these unwise decisions to refill their beverage!

    June 28, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Yuna

      What in the heck is wrong with you people out there????

      Have you forgotten what made America great and what we fought for in the first place?

      Obama and the lot know what is right for you – grow up and be a man or woman and then you might be an American.

      If you are fat and dying, it is your fault. In Europe they smoke and drink and live to 88 – what is killing us is the liberal BS, working hours and a general lack of getting off our butts and doing something after working long hours libe taking a walk with the wife, kids or dog or all.

      Gyms – proven not to solve the age issues.

      I cannot believe you out there need the NYC charlatan and now this political fool telling you what to do with your own life. Someone needs to stick their finger in this mayor's eye and tell him to butt out and do his job, which he apparently has none. Hey – his value system stinks by my standards, so I should be able to interfere with his family, friends and lifestyle too without penalty, pause or persecution.

      We are headed for another revolution and the Tories are already forcing us the majority to the minority views and values.

      Dangerous times ahead especially for them as we have been putting up with their sick norms and wasteful spending for far too long. When we finally have had enough it will be our time to undo such stupid, intrusive and simply put, un-American things like this to right – get a life mayor and stay out of mine or else!

      June 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Southerner01

    This just needs to stop. I cannot beleive that people are actually willing to tolerate these infringements on our individual liberties. If someone want to be unhealthy, they should be allowed to do so. Maybe they are happier living a shorter life filled with things they enjoy. Why should someone else be allowed to make that decision for them. An extra 5 years in a nursing home may not appeal to some of us.

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

      And what about the skinny people! Free refills for skinny people only?

      June 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris Nealis

      Yeah, it's time to talk "alter or abolish". This is out of control.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JC

    Damn....now I want a giant soda!

    June 28, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Maria

    Unless you have a hormonal/thyroid problem, YOU have the choice to select what you put in your mouth. In many cases, people that reward themselves with food have more complex issues. Most have psychological needs from childhood and compensate it with food. This attempt of telling people what to do shows a lack of really dealing with the issue. Instead of telling people what they cannot have, provide them with information/educate them so they can recognize the fact they need help and have the option of making healthy choices. How about other things that have more calories than softdrinks like Starbucks, milk shakes, pizzas, calzones, donuts, chili dogs, french fries, onion rings, pretzels, cakes, ice cream, candy bars, beer, frozen margaritas, chocolates, Little Debbies, etc.? How about really changing the menus in our public schools cafeterias with no greasy, high fat content??? How about re-educating parents on how to have a healthy balanced diet and teaching their children good eating habits?

    June 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. James

    you know I could really go for a large coke right now, thanks for reminding me. maybe 44oz

    June 28, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bg1789

    THANK YOU Mayor Henrietta Davis!! Because, as you know, people can't take care of themselves. And allowing them to make their own decisions in life does not give them humanizing freedom and the self-determination that psychologists think is so important. It is much better to be told what to do and to be treated like a child by a baby-sitting authority figure. I don't know how people in the past survived when they made their own decisions.

    June 28, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bg1789

    the problem is some people will try to sneak more sugary drinks when no one is looking. We need to install cameras that monitor eating behaviors. And maybe cameras in the homes of people to make sure they are exercising too. In fact, we could have video feeds going into homes that lead people in exercises to make sure that everyone is staying healthy. And if the government shipped people food supplies, we could ensure that everyone is eating more healthy.

    June 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. WOW

    I feel safer knowing my government leaks names of operatives who help our country, and the calorie police are lock stepping in New York. Lenin is laughing in his grave.

    June 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. saywhatyoumean

    What ever happened to personal responsibility ? I mean, what is the end result here ? Is soda going to become the next "street drug" ? I know I need my Pepsi fix every now and then – all that sugar and caffeine is soooo nice. Maybe we can go back to putting soda in small bottles and try to encourage it to be a treat instead of an everyday thing – I'd be fine with that. But there are so many other fundamental problems related to obesity. What ever happened to the national Fitness dude, wasn't it Arnold at one point ? I don't see the government promoting that now.

    June 29, 2012 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    Why not a limit on how many meat patties you can put on a burger? Why not limit size of fries? Why not ban fast food or tax it excessively?

    Yup go ahead and get yourself 5 triple whoppers but don't you dare get a free refill of your soda because that extra soda is what is making you fat.

    June 29, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rick

    States rights! You republicans need to quit WHINING.

    June 29, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
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