For the past ten years, New York City has banned smoking in indoor public spaces, has banned trans-fats and has made fast-food outlets list calorie counts on their menus. Now the city wants to take its commitment to public health even further by banning the sale of big, sugary, calorie-laden drinks in restaurants, cafeterias, and concession stands. The ban means that the largest amount of soda or similar drink that can be sold in one container will be 16 ounces.
No other jurisdiction in the United States has tried to control obesity by limiting portion sizes available at eateries, so many in the health field and executives at soft-drink companies will be watching closely to see if the dietary habits of Americans will change.
City officials claimed that the move was to get people to seriously consider the menace of food and drink that only present empty calories. City Mayor Michael Bloomberg described sugary drinks as being just as harmful as lead paint.
New Yorkers will still be able to get larger drinks if they so wish at businesses that aren’t covered by the ban, such as convenience and grocery stores. In fact, six out of ten New Yorkers saw the new ban as an infringement on their personal freedom to chose when a poll was taken last month.
College student Sebastian Lopez from Queens, although not a soda drinker, said: “It’s a slippery slope. When does it stop? What comes next? This is my life. I should be able to do what I want.”