soda cans
Louisa Shafia

Big Soda Ban: Right-On, or Off-Base?

New York City has taken on a big challenge. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with the New York City Board of Health, has passed a ban on the sale of sodas larger than 16 ounces. Some of the city’s residents approve the ban, but many – in fact most – are against it.

The reason for the ban is to help curb the city’s growing obesity epidemic, which contributes to high rates of diabetes and other health issues.  Not only will the city have its hands full trying to convince New Yorkers that this decision is in their best interests, but they are about to be challenged in court by the soda industry on the legality of passing the ban. Opponents of the ban say it will hurt small businesses that sell soft drinks, that it infringes on consumer choice, and that the ban was imposed without the consent of the public.

Now, all of the above factors have merit, depending on your point of view. But think about how much soda serving sizes have changed since they first came on the market. When soda was introduced in the 1920′s, the iconic glass bottles contained a 6.5 ounce serving. In the 1960′s, soda graduated to 12-ounce size cans. In the 1990′s came 20-ounce plastic bottles, which grew to 34 ounces later in the decade. Essentially, over time the standard of a “normal” soda size has changed, and a soda container that may seem perfectly reasonable to a teenager may be quite shocking to a baby boomer.

This will not be the first time that Mayor Bloomberg has passed a controversial law designed for the public’s wellbeing. His administration has outlawed smoking in bars and public parks, and passed a requirement for chain restaurants to list calorie counts next to menu items. Both of those laws are now standard operating procedure throughout much of the country. So, could the soda ban go the same way? Or, is it a big mistake that doesn’t have staying power?

Please share your opinion on the soda ban. Do you think this is a good way to fight food-related illness like diabetes and heart disease? Do you think there is a better way to go about helping people make healthy food choices? Add your comment to the discussion!

6 Responses to “Big Soda Ban: Right-On, or Off-Base?”

  1. Gail says:

    They chose to ban large size sodas because of its contribution to obesity, diabetes and other health related issues. Now let us talk about celebrating…National Donut Day…the calories and carbohydrates, the artery clogging fat and cholesterol, and oh, the sugar! I say supersize my diet soda…and that is my choice.

    If they want to make a difference, they should put forth an effort to educate people on how to make their own healthy food choices, and control their own portion sizes. Offer healthy cooking classes, healthy shopping habits, and healthy dining. We don’t need our government making food choices for us.

    These types of controls start in one corner of the country and soon become an infestation throughout the entire country. If we continue to allow the government and special interest groups to control our lives, can we still call America the land of the free?

  2. sue says:

    Gail – Could not have said it better myself – perfect!!

  3. becky says:

    I could never drink that much liquid of any kind unless I stretch it out over the day! I’m not sure that education is the answer either because if people really don’t know that all that sugar is hurting them, then they just aren’t listening. I think the information is out there, so maybe a ban on the super sized drinks is the way to make them pay attention. No one said they couldn’t buy more than one drink, but if they have to pay more for it, then maybe they won’t drink so much of those sugary drinks. I don’t think it’s a matter of freedom either, when it’s your choice to buy as many smaller drinks as you want.

  4. Last Minute Lady says:

    I understand both sides. But I also commend Bloomberg for having the guts to do something drastic. The fact is, people can get as much soda as they want still, but is he maybe drawing attention to an issue that needs it? I think so

  5. Ian M says:

    A personal choice to indulge heavily & not outweighing the outcome then comprimising that own person’s health not everyone else’s .

  6. stay home mom of 3 says:

    being a stay at home mom of 3 and on a tight budget I can say I am disappointed in his decision. My reasoning is becuase on the rare occasion I take my kids to the movies we get 1 large soda and split it between the 3 kids now on top of paying $50.00 in movie tickets I now have to buy each kid a coke at double the price, of the 1 large soda I used to buy…Thanks for once again hitting the little guy and costing us more money. I think the soda industry should be happy. People are going to drink the same amount of soda, they are now just going to have to pay more for it.!

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