Health March 12, 2013
To Ban Or Not To Ban: Reaction To The Blocking Of New York City's Soda Ban


Today, a ban on large sugary drinks - including pop - was supposed to go into effect in New York City. It didn't happen.

That's because a court has blocked the legislation, ruling it was full of "arbitrary and capricious consequences" that made enforcing it almost impossible.

Under the law, food-service establishments would be prohibited from selling sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces (473ml).

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the judge was "totally in error in the way he interpreted the law and we are very confident that we will win on appeal."

"One of the cases we will make is that people are dying every day. This is not a joke. Five thousand people die of obesity every day in America," he said.

Bloomberg spearheaded the ban as a way to reduce obesity as research suggests 58% of adults in New York are obese or overweight.


In his ruling, the judge wrote that loopholes in the law "effectively defeat the stated purpose" and that the elected City Council should have had a vote on it.

The law would apply to places serving food, such as restaurants, pizzerias, sports stadiums, movie theatres and bowling alleys.

But not grocery stores or convenience stores, which are outside the authority of the city's health department.

As the Guardian reports, "the judge listed the many inconsistencies in the plan: that it did not apply to every food establishment in the city, that it excluded some drinks that had higher concentrations of sugar or calories "on suspect grounds", and that it did not limit the amount of refills."

The ban was approved last September by the city Board of Health and was to come into effect today, with fines of $200 starting in June.

The American Beverage Association, which is leading the fight against the ban, was pleased with the decision.

"The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban," it said.

For more, check out this Washington Post piece entitled The New York City Soda Ban Explained.

As you might expect, there is lots of reaction and debate today about the ruling. Here's some recommended posts on both sides of the issue:

Mike's Ban Goes Pop - The New York Post (link)

Liberty From Big Soda: Why Bloomberg's Ban Should Only Be The Beginning Of A Public Health Revolution - The New York Daily News (link)

Bloomberg's Imperious Overreach Punished As Big Soda Ban Is Blocked - The Guardian (link)

Why I'm Obsessed With Banning Super-Size Sodas - Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' (link)

Why Soda is the Great American Beverage - The Wall Street Journal (link)

What Bloomberg Can't Control - The New Yorker (link)

Who Just Killed New York's Soda Ban? - The Atlantic Wire (link)

How Sweet It Is - The New York Sun (link)

The Extraordinary Science Of Addictive Junk Food - The New York Times (link)

Related stories

New York City Becomes 1st City In America To Ban Oversized Sugary Drinks

You Are What You Eat: Fresh Food Vs. Obesity In Philadelphia

The Cost Of Healthy Food And Who Gets Access To It



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