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. Jara

    Temptation or not, this is a gross over stepping of american rights and is undeniably a stepping stone for a nanny government. We have the right to choose what we consume and in what amount. Prohibition has never proved a successful tactic in any sense and if our sodas, trans fats, and sugary beverages are banned, then I will be on the front line of American personal choice. While some citizens abstain from unhealthy choices, some have made the choice to live with a future of cardiac arrest and heart disease, and that's their right. I shudder to think of a world where hamburgers and sodas are bought from back alley dealers under threat of government penalty. Freedom of personal choice is wholly american and if doesn't affect the freedom of other citizens, then it as protected as our free speech, right to dissidence, and pursuit of happiness.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mona

    I'm not a fan of bans, but I wish people would stop drinking so much soda. The caramel coloring causes cancer, high fructose corn syrup is unhealthy, contributes to obesity, rotten teeth and possible drop in IQ.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.

    It's sad when you repubs/conservatives are in power.....wanting to tell everyone who to marry and which god to worship (and how).....just another example of the "nanny" state you repubs/conservatives want to push on all of us.....where does it stop? How about minding your own business and letting everyone make their own minds? bunch of control freaks...............you all want 16 year olds to have access to gu.ns but draw the line at who they can kiss??? yeah, YOU’RE the party of reason......hahahah

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

      If Bloomberg is or ever was a Republican in more than name only than I am in fact a monkeys uncle

      June 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Devine

      Tom Tom the son of two pipers....LOL

      June 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob

    Yea. What we should do is just ban any medical assistance to people over 250 pounds. That would really get people in shape and better suited for work.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      This would include the politicians, police, firefighters, etc.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Or, better yet, we'll deny medical care to anyone with an IQ of less than 90. You'll be gone within a week.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go away

      Hey Bob. I pay for my own medical insurance. So now if I get fat you are saying I shouldn't be able to get medical treatment with my own insurance that I paid for? Why don't you just make out a list for everyone and tell them what they can and can't buy with their own money.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rcubed

      Great idea Bob. Lets also ban medical care for anyone over the age of 65, since they are retired anyways, and lets ban all forms of fast food places. While we are at it, lets ban the sale of cupcakes and potatoe chips and ice cream altogether since none of them are essential nutritional staples. Lets also ban automobile and buses because they pollute the air. Lets ban movie theaters from selling snacks and get rid of hot dogs and apple pie. On second thought lets get rid of people who want to get rid of things.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gatecrasher1

    She was beaten by the ugly stick....look her up. Another big government elitist, too

    June 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Wolf Blitzer

    Someone needs to walk into that marxist mayor's office with a ballpeen hammer.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Everyman

      No need to advocate violence. We are adults and can use words.

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

    Personally, I don't drink pop and I exercise regularly but i'll be damned if the governments gonna say I cant get a free refill. The government exists FOR the people and to represent them not to lead the people and tell them how to live.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. poiuytrew

    Man smart peaple are stupid.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joe

    Oh NO, now the hoods on the street corner will be selling refills instead of dime bags. Thank God for the underground market!

    June 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • 5.2%

      If that really did happen, then it's an even better reason to implement the ban. Get rid of drugs on the street by making soda the new crack!

      June 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BostonDan

    Another moonbat idea from the Moonbat Capital of the world, Cambridge, MA! Where do these pointy-headed weirdos come from? This is the most important thing she can do with her time??? She must be a horrible nag! I pity her family.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Little Man

    Stay out of my life. Enough laws and rules, I feel like I am back in school. The state is broke and they are wasting their time and my money on this. Time to clean house of these idiots.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • 5.2%

      A little mind for a little man...

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

      Not a little mind. I'm a very liberal person but come on already with the nanny state crud already!!! Time to clean house indeed!!

      June 20, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • phunk

      I guess I said already twice because it needs to change NOW!

      June 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jerry D

    Don't they (the majors) have nothing more important to do? I thought the ecomony was important, or crime, jobs, parking meters, drugs. Unless they are considering sugar a drug. (I shouldn't give them an idea). Be constructive, discuss the fact that part of the government is broken (congress).

    June 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. lizbeth

    no more free refills.
    How about if they gvie us free salad?

    June 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MK

    "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. "

    EXACTLY!!!

    June 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. darby

    Okay so we should ban refills on Coffee if the drinker is going to add 2 sugars and add cream. We should also ban grande Lattes since there is as much sugar in some of those drinks as Soda. How far do you take this or will it be illegal to drink more than 2 sodas a day at home. Oh yeah and we can only have 3 children of which only one can be a girl.

    June 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • 5.2%

      I forget what the actual number is, but the amount of soda consumed by Americans each year is absolutely ludicrous. Comparing it to anything else (at this time) is pretty silly.

      June 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
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