I’ve been bothered over the past several months by people who have been claiming that NYC has had soft drinks over a certain size outlawed for some time now. That just hasn’t been true. [/rant] Now a ban has been put in place:
New York City passed the first U.S. ban of oversized sugary drinks on Thursday in its latest controversial step to reduce obesity and its deadly complications in a nation with a weight problem.
By an 8-0 vote with one abstention, the mayoral-appointed city health board outlawed sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces nearly everywhere they are sold, except groceries and convenience stores. Violators of the ban, which does not include diet sodas, face a $200 fine.
Opponents, who cast the issue as an infringement on personal freedom and called Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who proposed the ban in May, an overbearing nanny, vowed to continue their fight. They may go to court in the hopes of blocking or overturning the measure before it takes effect in March.
When I first heard about this, I figured it was a publicity stunt – the desired publicity being to draw attention to the obesity problem. I didn’t think anyone would follow through with this, but here we are. So that said, I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’m all for calories being listed on menus (because informed consumption is important), but I’m not entirely convinced this will make any difference in fighting obesity. I see people buying their oversized drinks elsewhere, such as in grocery stores where they are still legal. Alternatively, businesses may just offer free refills more often. One thing, however, of which I am convinced is that this lady is wrong:
“It’s sad that the board wants to limit our choices,” Liz Berman, a business owner and chairwoman of New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, a beverage industry-sponsored group, said in a statement. “We are smart enough to make our own decisions about what to eat and drink.”
Perhaps people should be allowed to buy what they want, but it’s absolutely clear that most Americans are not smart enough to make their own decisions about what to eat and drink.