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. DLW

    Seriously?! Forcibly stepping in and removing refills or larger sodas is NOT going to resolve the obesity issue suffered by some. It's not even going to make a dent. All it is doing is removing yet another one of ALL of our freedoms. If an adult wants more soda, they will get it. The cause of obesity lies in deeper issues, such as lack of exercise! Put PE and recess back in the schools, which WILL help!

    June 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nadbash

    This is too liberal even for me. American's aren't fat because of sugary cereals, they're fat because they're lazy.

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

    Enough with this nanny government. The government is overstepping its boundaries.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. columbus

    I just don't see how punishing the consumer helps the problem, if people are forced to spend more, they will, and the soft drink mfgs. make more, the retailer makes more. The money doesn't go towards health care or attempts at finding a solution. Look at smoking, tobacco costs many times more than it did years ago, how many people did it stop? How much of that money goes towards lung cancer research or treatment?

    June 20, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Glenn

    It is NOT the goverments position to tell us how much to drink nor what businesses plan to offer. Get your communist hands out of our business and take care of the financial problems at hand. Priorities!

    June 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Michael

    This is a good first step. Next, however, we must outlaw candy, ice-cream, microwave & theater popcorn, all fried foods, fruit juice, gatorade, cookies, + much more.

    The government must protect the people from themselves. When will people wake up and realize that our loving government knows what is best for us?

    C'mon sheep... err, I mean people.

    June 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      ..and that's just the begining. Remember, life is the leading cause of death...

      June 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. funnygirljes

    This is crazy to me. You could walk into any fast food place, order yourself 3 triple cheddar bacon double cheeseburgers, but have any extra sprite and that is ultimately making you unhealthy/ overweight. Stop beating around the bush with this. If you want to get rid of fast food businesses fine, but don't say it's the temptation of a third diet coke that is ultimately the problem that needs fixing.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Charlie

    How about we start banning twinkies, slim jims, sugary drinks on food stamps first.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • marathon

      wrong tree....

      June 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      That won't happen in an election year.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JPoet

    Sociologists have found a link between obesity and poverty. Which of course is where the Super Size is meant to come in to save families money. So you can hit the symptom and do nothing long term or hit the disease which is poverty. So Mr. Mayor focus on poverty and by the scientific studies we will see a decline in obesity. Deal?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nt

    This comment has been flagged for review.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • wes

      I know cnn doesnt let most of my comments go threw either. thing is, is I never say anything bad, or swear. and it still gets banned. anyway welcome to the communist party of cnn.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. wes

    next thing there going to start doing is telling you how much toilet paper you buy and use per month. but come on, I think theres better things to worry about besides suger. and where do they get off at telling you whats too much? I thought the US was a demorcracy?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • 5.2%

      If that's what you thought, then you are wrong. The US is a republic.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JJ

    "This is one temptation that isn’t really necessary.” Heheh people really say things like this? I'm rather curious which temptations ARE necessary.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chemical Brother

    If they really cared, they would go after MSG. MSG is labeled under 40 different names and makes poor quality food and drinks taste better and you want to consume more of it and more often. Natural Flavorings? No, just another name for MSG. How do we make lab mice fat? Dope them with MSG. Well, there's your problem! MSG is in everything, hidden under many different names! If you want to fix a problem, find and fix the right source of it.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Truthwillsetyoufree

    Isn't the mayor supposed to be out oppressing the 99%..

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

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

    Focusing on sugary drinks is a joke. If drinking a sugary drink is a "temptation," then maybe these politicians should waste their time by going even further and curb alcoholism by limiting the amount of alcoholic beverages that can be bought in a bar. This would lessen the temptation of drunk driving as well as keeping the public healthy with no chances of developing cirrhosis of the liver or either alcohol related illnesses, truly saving lives. Let these politicians start a new era of prohibition from everything!

    June 20, 2012 at 4:09 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