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SOUND OFF: Should Sugary Drinks Be Banned?

New York City recently passed a ban on soda and sugary drinks over 16 ounces. Where do you stand on soda size?

The New York City Board of Health made it official this week: No large sodas.

The unanimous decision extends to sodas larger than 16 ounces from fast-food restaurants, movie theaters and street vendors. It is the first of its kind in the nation and does not cover convenience stores or supermarkets. It will go into effect in March 2013.

"This is the single biggest step any city, I think, has ever taken to curb obesity," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the New York Times following the vote. "It’s certainly not the last step that lots of cities are going to take, and we believe that it will help save lives."

The decision has been applauded by some including Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver who said that over half of the adults in New York are obese or overweight.

There has been opposition to the decision in polls of residents and by private interest groups. Some of those groups have said they will fight the decision.

The ruling could spark similar moves in other communities across the country.

Patch wants to know: Do you agree with the soda ban in the interest of public health or do you want your super soda? Sound off in the comments.

Live and In Color September 15, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Everyone should see this as a great law, you know, if you're stupid.
The Troll of Northborough September 15, 2012 at 04:36 PM
why not ban cigarettes and cigars too, malts should be banned, wait lets not forget the food chains selling 1200 calorie salads. Rather than waste O2 on this, why not push for a legislation that says ALL foods and menus must list a calorie count on the menu / cup / package
Pamela Reilly September 15, 2012 at 04:53 PM
What's next? Candy bars, ice cream...Maybe we should just ban Halloween! The Government has nothing better to worry about??
David Nolta September 15, 2012 at 05:36 PM
It's a tricky one (and not as simple as Mark Cain says--or did you forget that Mr. Bloomberg, whose baby this is, was a Democrat, then more recently a Republican, and is now an Independent? So Mark, your usual stereotyping of "libs" and blaming "them" for "killing our rights" is characteristically faulty.). I think people should be allowed to decide for themselves how much sugar they want to ingest--but this law doesn't deny people that right or decision. It just limits what is considered an acceptable portion. You can still have as much as you want, though presumably you'll have to make an effort, and pay more, to obtain it. It's a kind of pressure, rather than a destruction of a right. And while I might tend to be AGAINST that sort of pressure, the thing that makes me hesitate is seeing the way cigarette companies are now treated. If people are encouraged by a fast-food restaurant to continue to accept huge, demonstrably unhealthy servings of soda as the standard or normal portion, won't there eventually be a sling of lawsuits claiming that people are obese, unhealthy, and die because of that practice? If you want the right, you have to accept that exercising that right can be very costly (to yourself and to the community), and that with the right comes personal responsibility and ACCOUNTABILITY.
Allen L Weiner, DMD, PC September 15, 2012 at 05:43 PM
It is well known that sugar-sweetned drinks, and all carbonated drinks, are damaging to your teeth and also to your health. That said, a 16 oz. limit is of no value-- especially when unlimitted refills are available. Let government stick to the bigger issues, and let us be responsible for our own choices. Allen L Weiner, DMD, FAGD
Tyler Collins September 15, 2012 at 05:54 PM
This will so easily backfire. Does Bloomberg think the people of New York are idiots? They'll circumvent the ban by just doubling up on sodas in their purchase, which in theory could be even more unhealthy than a 16 oz. Is obesity a problem? Yes, but that's up to the individual person to do something about it; not the government deciding they can moderate sovereignty.
Ray Fellows September 15, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Im sorry Janie. I know ur 16 and u can have an abortion or a bottle of morning after pills but NOT a biggie soda. We are only concerned about ur health.
Maggie McDonald September 15, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Natalie...I think you are drinking some left wing cool-aid! Government needs to stay the heck out of lives when it comes to making decisions like these! I mean, REALLY?!?! You said in an earlier post that it's for people that do drink lots of sugary drinks etc...well..if that's what they want to do, then LET THEM!! This is still the Unites States of America and we have the right to make our own decisions, good or bad! What's next? No alcohol because there are some people that drink too much and have a problem with it?!?! No smoking because that's bad for you too??? All these things have impacts on our health and our healthcare system...you don't have to "live in a cave" to understand that. However, these are decisions WE should be making for ourselves!
Deb Spence September 15, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Where do bans like this end - stores won't be able to sell 2 for 1 bags of chips? Twinkies can only be purchased if you are over 21? Obesity is an issue but government bans won't eliminate the problem. Making safe streets would go further in reducing youth obesity by allowing kids to play on the streets safely. Educating and assisting parents with activities other than TV would be more helpful. Banning large drinks does not alter the behavior that created the problem.
Robert Rosen September 15, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I'm curious, for the people who agree with this ban, what you think about the fact that it only applies to soda? Many fruit juices and sports drinks actually have more sugar than soda. Also, check out coffee shops such as Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts and their Coolatas, Frappacinnos, etc. have A LOT more sugar than soda. If this law's purpose is in fact to help people with a health issue (obesity), then why are none of these other drinks subject to the ban? What do you think?
Barb Nahoumi September 15, 2012 at 08:47 PM
High Fructose Corn Syrup needs to be eliminated from bottled juices, sodas, and baked goods. This is a culprit toward obesity. Most of the time, my drink of choice is water.
David Temple September 15, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Free choice is great if you take FULL responsibility – but when you make bad food choices and become obese and unhealthy, you’re not taking FULL responsibility. Your choices add stress to your family life. You’re less healthy, so you’re less productive at work, so your employer’s costs go up, and so do the prices paid by us, your employer’s customers. Your health problems drive up the cost of health insurance we all pay, etc., etc., etc. Your unhealthy choices cost everybody, not just you. Restricting sugary drink container size is a step in the right direction – a better idea would be to tax unhealthy food, as we tax unhealthy tobacco.
Kira Gagarin September 15, 2012 at 09:36 PM
I am unsure why people are so up in arms about this. Ban away, don't ban away. Who cares, really. The government controls lots of things that reach us for collective health, supposedly. I don't see an issue with this ban, though I think we have bigger worries to spend our politicians' time and our money on. I wish instead of prohibiting the bad there would be incentives for making right choices. But really, meh.
Jodi September 16, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Let me get this straight, we can't keep people who use our money in the form of an ebt card from buying soda because it is "their" money and they should be able To spend it how they like, but we can ban EVERYBODY from buying a 16 oz soda, can you say STUPID! This is supposed to be a FREE country, let me suffer the consequences of my own actions, and leave me alone!
Bob September 16, 2012 at 01:00 AM
We should have a steady diet of nouthing but Soylent Green. Healthy and recycle at the same time.
Bob September 16, 2012 at 01:04 AM
We are NOT sheep. Just give us the facts and truth in labeling and let us make our own decisions. What ever happened to the Land of the Free???
Ray Fellows September 16, 2012 at 02:39 AM
WOW. Okay, by this standard have a LONG list of things and bad decisions we should ban. Now are these bans only what u believe in or is this open for both sides of the aisle. I sense slippery slope here. Cigarettes, alcohol, teen sex, I'm staying away from the most controversial choices.
Ray Fellows September 16, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Education is ALWAYS the key. Laws have NEVER stopped any behaviors or choices. Two 16 oz drinks are more expensive than one 32 ounce. AND if you noticed, convenience stores are exemptso teens can still get their 64 oz Mountain Dew Big Gulp at the 7-11. Mayor Bloomberg is known for his political grandstanding. He's crazy as a loon, purchased the mayors position with his families money and actually thinks he can be President one day.
Live and In Color September 16, 2012 at 05:51 AM
Nice
P Rae September 16, 2012 at 08:22 AM
To be clear, I'm opposed to this regulation, but to those who favor it, how about a tax based on the number of grams of sugars and fats? This is not the way to give incentives to the production and marketing of healthier foods.
ET September 16, 2012 at 12:36 PM
This is interesting; most people do not agree with this as I do not, so why is so many man hours and dollars being spent on investigating this idea? It is crazy. As mentioned above in some of the posts, it starts with soda but then where does it end? There does seem to be other, more harmful things to ban than soda. I really think that some of these lawmakers need to look at bigger and more important issues like where spending can be cut in government, how to help those without jobs and homes. People need to take responsibility for themselves, their actions, and their habits.
Miguel September 16, 2012 at 12:58 PM
The law does not say NY is banning soda, just the size of the soda. I'm undecided on whether to ban or not and yet, I do wish we could ban smoking because not only does it threaten ones health but others as well.
Barry September 16, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Of course not. We forget too easily that this country was founded on the values of individual freedom, individual liberty, and yes, individual responsibility. It is never up to the government to tell us what to eat or how much to eat. Government can tell us the consequences of eating what we want but no government entity - or person or group of people - have the right to tell anyone what to eat or how much to eat. Sorry folks, this country is not built as a communitary (and thankfully not as a socialistic structure either) but as a driver and enforcer of individual rights and freedoms.
David Nolta September 16, 2012 at 02:13 PM
It's just as likely to be "right wing" KoolAid, Maggie! Straight from the packet. (Does that still come in packets?)
David Nolta September 16, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I agree, Robert. Juice drinks can be incredibly high in corn syrup and calories, and some of them--including many aimed especially at children--can be addictive (not to mention, mind-altering!). Now let's talk about fried foods...
Ed Burdick September 16, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Sad how even silly things like this brings out the standard left vs right ideology discussion. I lean to the left, but think this approach to the obesity problem misses the mark. It is indeed somewhat a personal freedom issue, but also a very ineffective way to tackle this big health problem. Influencing rather than dictating personal choice has always been a more effective approach.
Barry September 16, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I realzie the government is not banning the drinks but rather regulating the size. That is none of the government's business either.
Chris L. September 17, 2012 at 05:25 PM
If I recall correctly, bastions of Deomcratic thinking, such as the People's Republic of Cambridge have floated this idea. Are you saying they are in cahoots with "Big Soda"? I think not. Maybe you could read a little more into the topic before laying blame on the wrong party. This is all about Big Government, regulating daily life. I hope that this is challenged and tossed, under the grounds that, unless a product is banned or determined in some other way to be illegal, that states and cities are overstepping their authority by restricting commerce.
David Temple September 18, 2012 at 03:39 PM
A stunning 75% of Americans ages 17-24 are unfit for military service. Yes, three out of four can’t even qualify for the Army, chiefly because of education or obesity. (When I was in the Army years ago, there weren’t any star athletes or Einsteins in my unit.) And these are the young people who are supposed to compete successfully with the hungry and ambitious Chinese, Indians, and Brazilians? Our current systems have created this huge problem. “Americans are exceptional. Just keep the government out of my life” isn’t the solution.
Ray Fellows September 19, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Getting the governement involved NEVER makes anything better. Look at the job they are doing so far, 16 TRILLION in debt and climbing. Keep the government as far away from our kids as possible. Parents need to start being parents and we need to stop weakening our educational expectations of our children. Children need to be taught, mentored, influenced people they look up to and respect. Hard decisions need to be made in this country and soon. Its going to take a leader who isnt afraid to take the heat. Not many countries children only go to school half of the year like us. There is no more money so we are going to have to come up with some very creative solutions.

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