Do We Really Need to Ban Soda?

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These are all okay ... for now. Photo: Jamie Chung

This is what it's come to, people. We couldn't keep our weight in check, so Mayor Bloomberg is going to ban large-size sodas and sugary drinks. The ban still needs approval from the Board of Health, but that approval is "considered likely because the members are all appointed by [Bloomberg]," according to the Times. In other words, this is a forgone conclusion.

The ban could happen as early as next March and would essentially outlaw the sale of sugary drinks larger than sixteen ounces in most places:

Restaurants, delis, movie theater and ballpark concessions would be affected, because they are regulated by the health department. Carts on sidewalks and in Central Park would also be included, but not vending machines or newsstands that serve only a smattering of fresh food items.

At fast-food chains, where sodas are often dispersed at self-serve fountains, restaurants would be required to hand out cup sizes of 16 ounces or less, regardless of whether a customer opts for a diet drink. But free refills — and additional drink purchases — would be allowed.

Bodegas can also sell big sodas provided they don't serve enough fresh food to warrant a letter grade.

As Bloomberg told reporters, "Your argument, I guess, could be that it’s a little less convenient to have to carry two 16-ounce drinks to your seat in the movie theater rather than one 32 ounce … I don’t think you can make the case that we’re taking things away."

Which is exactly the problem with this ban: Sure, you won't be able to buy a Big Gulp at any of the city's quickly expanding 7-Eleven outposts, but if it's still going to be so easy for people to get a quarter-gallon of Coke, will the move actually do anything to curb New York's growing obesity problem? Doesn't seem likely.

New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks [NYT]
Related: In Latest Attack on Delicious Things, Bloomberg Plans to Ban Large Sodas [Daily Intel]