NYC Soda Ban Approved
The New York City Board of Health approved Mayor Michael Bloomberg‘s ban on large sugary drinks on Thursday, paving the way for it to go into effect in March. But the beverage lobby is reportedly already mounting a legal challenge, while the policy remains deeply unpopular among New Yorkers.
The policy will prohibit the sale of sugar-sweetened drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces at many restaurants, eateries, and vending spots; it will not apply to grocery stores, or beverages containing alcohol, large amounts of fruit juice, or large amounts of milk.
The policy passed the board 8-0, with one abstention.
Supporters compare the new plan with Bloomberg’s push to ban smoking in bars and restaurants, and even public parks; all have become more popular over time, and have not appeared to affect business or tourism in any way.
Still, the ban is criticized by many New Yorkers, even those who don’t really drink soda. A New York Times poll found that 60% oppose the ban, even though 67% all respondents drank soda once a week or less. An accompanying article says that many were concerned about the government taking away their choices, even though consumers would still be able to get the same volume of soda by ordering more drinks.
Personally, I might think the ban is a little silly, but that’s nothing compared to the campaign against it. I crack up whenever I see the above image plastered all over the city, on delivery vans, in bodegas, and at movie theaters. Why does the American Beverage Association- I’m sorry, their astroturf organization “New Yorkers for Beverage Choice”- suddenly care about my freedom of choice? They don’t. They care about their profits.
So let’s try to keep things in perspective here: Stop-and-Frisk is a serious concern for civil libertarians; a ban on Big Gulps is not. Even though there is plenty of public health data to show why this ban is a good idea, I’d pass it just to tell beverage corporations not to treat me like an idiot.
What do you think?
[via Huffington Post]