In an effort to reduce the number of supersized New Yorkers, Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to reduce the number of supersized drinks in the city. The Mayor is proposing a ban that would prohibit the sale of any sweet beverage larger than 16 ounces.
Any seller that does not comply will be fined $200.
The proposed ban would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, milkshakes or alcoholic beverages. Nor would it apply to drinks sold at grocery or convenience stores.
Bloomberg believes the plan will combat obesity.
“Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands… New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something. I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do,” he said.
But the New York City Beverage Association thinks the city has an “unhealthy obsession” with soft drinks.
“It’s time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity. These zealous proposals just distract from the hard work that needs to be done on this front,” said spokesman Stefan Friedman.
Others have questioned the effectiveness of the ban given the loopholes: Free refills will still be allowed, and there is nothing stopping a person from ordering more than one drink.
“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,” Bloomberg said in a sarcastic tone, according to The New York Times. “I don’t think you can make the case that we’re taking things away.”
Some believe the ban would be an infringement on personal liberty.
“If people want to drink 24 ounces, it’s their decision,” said college student Zara Atal.
But the Mayor disagrees: “I don’t know how in court you would challenge it. We’re not taking away any rights.”
If the Board of Health approves the ban, large sugary drinks will become a thing of the past in New York City in March.