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. MLF

    Only in the North would they try and take something as hospitable as free refills away. How absurd! Let's criminalize the use of more than one ketchup packet or barbecue sauce while we’re at it.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • pastapharian

      pointless post and a terrible comparison. do you even understand the issues?

      June 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bye Bye Freedom

    Amazing. Welcome to Russia, folks.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alicia

    I don't really like the government telling me how to live my life, but with so many people dependent on government beneifts, particularly health care coverage, it's unfortunate but necessary for lawmakers to step-in to help curb the obesity pandemic which has also lead to a number of other health epidemics like diabetes and heart disease among other issues. If we were more conscious and proactive about what is really making us sick -which mostly leads back to our poor diet , then the government wouldn't have to step in. Do the right thing so Big Brother doesn't have to make you do it.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Voice of truth

      go ahead and file in the other sheep are this way, glad you admit you prefer the govt. telling you what and hwo to think since you are unable to think for yourself, have a look at the price the govt pays for health care ...then look at the budget paid to congress and alot of their personal Shaded pocket projects then tell me where the majority of the money is being spent

      June 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      "Big Brother" can never make people thin. The very concept is laughable. It's no different than prohibition. The moment you make something illegal, the more people want it.

      Anyone who wants to make Coca-Cola a trillion to outlaw it.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mecatfish

    Sheesh. I cant believe the complete lack of you people not seeing what is really going on here. Its disinformation. While you are wasting your time reading this article and following it....something else is going on. CNN wont report on it because they dont know about it. They, and you, are too busy reading this stuff on the left hand and not paying attention to what is going on in the right hand. Something big is going on and it is being masked by soda, immigration, sandusky, Ipads and a schmere of other useless garbage. Search Google for LENR. Then search CNN for the same thing. That is just the tip of the iceberg. Oh ya tell those politicians that coffee is making us way too paranoid and maybe they should ban that too.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Voice of truth

    WELCOME TO AMERICA LAND OF THE OPPRESSED, at the rate congress is taking the american publics freedoms mexico will have a american immigration problem within the next 10-20 years... the land of the free is only free to those in congress ...the rest of us are no more than slaves paying our master

    June 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • rob

      Truth, I don't think Mexico will have an immigration problem, I do think that within the next fifty years America will no longer exist. At what point do those of us that do not want governmnet interference just say hell with it and move to texas, and then split the country up. The Confederacy will, in fact rise agin, and the good, independance loving people of this nation will have the lunatics like thse two clowns to thank for it.

      Personally I hope it happens in my lifetime. IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SECEDE, TRY TRY AGAIN.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    Play Ball is right on the money. Working 50+ hours and eating fast food contribute to being unhealthy, not the size of the soda. How about cutting back my work schedule and extending my lunch hour so I can go to the gym and eat something in a restaurant instead of a fast food joint.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. YoursTruly

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

    It's not her bloody decision on whether or not it's necessary. The thought police are at it again. If someone wants to drink sugary drinks until they weigh 400 pounds, it's their choice. The US was founded on the principle of choice. The foundation is crumbling and it's going to continue. The stars & stripes for which I fought in 2 wars are long gone. I'm glad to say that I no longer live in the country.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Sorry you moved. We need more freedom loving people in this country, not less.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sickofignorance

    I wounder when people, particularly these brainless politicians that everybody keeps putting into office will ever realize that SUGAR is not the problem!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The problem is HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SRYUP!!!!!!!! That is why the entire country, not just kids is obese. What to make America skinny again? Repeal all the food laws that Ronald Reagen(most destructive presidnet in modern history) pushed thorugh congress back in the 80's. Se back in the day High Fructose Corn Syrup was only allowed in animal feed, NOT human food. Get rid of HFCS and watch American get thin again!!!!! No I'm not a member of the Cane sugar council!

    June 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • pastapharian

      fair point.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      Wrong. The problem isn’t high Fructose, its personal responsibility. Refill number 3 didn’t force its way down your throat. As long as people look to blame inanimate objects the problem will prosiest and they will just move on to a new scapegoat.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • MK

      "SUGAR is not the problem!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The problem is HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SRYUP!!!!!!!! "

      exactly!! this would never happen if the government didn't pay coke and pepsi for HFCS to be so cheap. It's not an issue of sugar at all, it's HFCS.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JohnM

    I believe the line goes something like this "the ends do not justify the means".

    June 20, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Michelle

    Yes of course, that's it!! Lets allow the government to control every single aspect of our lives. This is the solution for everything!! Never mind that the common sense factor should come into play here. If the government does all of the thinking for us everything will be perfect.NOT. What a joke. Wake up people don't you think the government has enough control?

    June 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Straittalk23

    "Hmmm.. I like the large size ban, but don't touch my refills." Hmmm... It looks like you are not listening bro.....

    June 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      The only large size that should be banned are the people. People made themselves fat. Larger drinks don’t force you to drink them or refill them.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. peanut

    I saw we ban elderly people. The cost of them on health insurance raising my cost is ridiculous. While we're at it, lets get folks to two kids ONLY, no more tanning beds, force helmets and 5 point harnesses in car seats, insist people get preventative tests at appropriate ages, learn how to reduce stress and also save...etc. etc.

    the only people this will impact are poor fat people. I don't care if its 3 dollars per refile, I WILL be having my soda if I want it.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Context

    As we saw with the smoking ban? When was smoking in NYC banned? They do not sell cigarettes, they do not allow people to smoke? Convenience stores do not sell cigarettes, there are no longer cigar stores? All they banned was smoking where it impacts non-smokers, imperfectly I might add. Fine ban me from force feeding my super size drink to a non-soda drinker. When you completely stop smoking (ever hear of prohibition, it didn't work either), then address stopping drinks. I guarantee to any restaurant that stops free refills, you better drop your drink price to 20¢ or just quit selling drinks altogether.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tony

    I feel like I should move to a secluded cabin in the woods and begin writing my manifesto.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Engstrom


      June 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Play ball

    As a fat guy in the making, with the family mortality rate that I have... I 100 percent agree that the consumption of soda's and other less than healthy food choices can and will kill you. A healthier lifestyle is the responsibility of the individual his or herself. That said... I could not be more adamant that government has no place or right to tell me what I cannot eat, drink. Instead of curtailing the rights of citizens, the same goal can be accomplished by shutting down the companies that make the stuff.... oh.... that’s right.... those companies have lawyers. Hypocrites.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
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