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.

Post by:
Filed under: Fast Food • Food • Health • Massachusetts
soundoff (754 Responses)
  1. Mel

    Maybe they should ban six packs too. If you want to buy 6 cans at the grocery store, go in and out of the grocery line 6 times. Ridiculous.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    How about forcing mcdonals to offer lean beef instead of ground thing a mcbeef

    June 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim Engstrom

    So ridiculous. What will we ban next, sunshine? We better limit how much time anyone can spend outside so they don't get skin cancer.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Phil

    I say ban the Soda! Ban the deserts! Ban the butter they cook with that clogs the arteries! Ban the salt that is causing high blood pressure! Ban the Alcohol ! Ban the Red Meat clogging arteries! Ban any vegetables that are not grown organicly and free from chemicals! Ban all the carbs that are making people fat! Or how about if we just make people take responsibility for their own actions...

    June 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mabel

    If they ban free refills, do you think they will cut the cost of the sodas since the cost now includes refills? Yeah...I doubt it. Then the restaurants will have to remove the refill station

    June 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. riots?

    the fat people wouldn't be able to walk! much less riot

    June 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obamajoe

      ban fat people ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,easier,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      June 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Duke

      Ban dumb comments ...even easier.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcia Cross

      Take a fat mans food and see what happens. You'll beg for your life as your limbs are nom nom'd off.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kevin in Atlanta

    And this is different than conservatives telling people who they can and can't marry? Get over yourself.

    Let's call this what it is: Government reaching too far. It doesn't matter the party or the issue. Government is getting too far into our private lives. I have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And if that happiness is me sitting in a restaurant getting refills on my favortie soda, then damnit that's my right.

    Conservative or Liberal, it doesn't matter. It's government doing what it was never meant to do.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • mdc

      Ditto, Kevin!

      June 20, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. michael morales

    oh!!! NO!!!! Not my refills!!!!!!!! work on real problems of the city!!!! What a waste of goverment's time and our tax dollars!!

    June 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • DJL

      Obesity is becoming a huge problem in this country: 2/3 of population is overweight, with 1/2 of them being obese. This causes many health problems, which ends up costing society a lot of $$.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mabel

    How about they stop selling icecream, cookies, cake, candy, chips, fried food, red meat or anything else that is not healthy....this is ridiculous. Oh, yeah, ban alcohol, it isn't good for you too. Or, only one drink allowed.....but wait, there are tax dollars involved, that aint gonna happen.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. wrm

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

    I'm so glad our benevolent dear leaders know what is and isn't necessary for us as individuals.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • 5.2%

      So are you saying that refills are necessary?

      June 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. blah9999

    This makes me face palm so hard, and I live in cambridge.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Pappa Smurf

    Next up any woman having more than 2 abortions shall be sterilized.....

    June 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • pastapharian

      yet another good idea. as a general rule, stupid people shouldn't breed.

      June 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      @ pastapharian
      I agree and all the more reason to support contraception coverage. Especially among the religious.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JEM

    Our government plays a big part in our obesity problem. First, it was our government who encouraged high carb diets for years leading people trying to loose weight to eat large amounts of carbs thus making them fatter.

    Second, farm subsidies mostly go to junk food ingredients instead of nutritious foods. That is why a handful of asparagus costs $2.98 while a two liter bottle of corn syrup soda can cost under $.80. Fattening foods are subsidized and nutritious foods are taxed.

    Get the government out of the diet business and America might regain some of its health. Unfortunately this cannot happen because junk-food farmers have far better lobbyists than
    vegetable farmers.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      "junk-food farmers"? Do you live next to a Big Mac orchard or something? Food is food genius. It's not inherently good or bad. If people want to over-consume, that's their right. It's not the business of the government, or anyone else, to "save" someone from themselves.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Liqmaticus

    A friend of mine predicted that government would start telling us what to eat and drink after banning smoking in restaurants years ago. I thought he was crazy, but there it is. I don't smoke and I eat organic mostly, but I still say the gov has NO business meddling in people's lives. Period!

    June 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      I think it is outrageous that they tax prepared food. At this rate how long will it be before all food is taxed?

      June 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

      You and your friend are idiots. They are not telling you what to drink, but making it harder to drink MORE. That said the government has been telling you what you can and can’t eat for decades. It’s called the FDA. I do not support this ban but for Pete’s sake uses your brain.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Adam

    Either ban soda completely national wide, or leave it alone. This is stupid.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35