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Big Gulp Prohibition Bill Sparks Outrage in NYC

• May 31, 2012 9:06 am

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Diminutive billionaire and New York City strongman Mayor Michael Bloomberg had an idea Wednesday: a ban on large-size sugary drinks.

The New York Times reports:

New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.

The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.

But New Yorkers are less than fond of the idea, CBS New York reports:

ANCHOR: Every single menu in the city could soon be getting a major overhaul if Mayor Bloomberg has his way.

ANCHOR: Tonight, the mayor is announcing a new public health initiative to battle obesity, taking aim at super-sized sugary drinks.

ANCHOR: Derricke Dennis is live in Times Square tonight with the new details for us. What's this all about?

REPORTER: We're talking about wholesale changes here that could be coming to a restaurant or store near you. The mayor proposing a ban on sugary drinks and sodas, including the all-important Slurpee here–anything over 16 ounces. It's a proposal that could be a first in the nation. Goodbye to those big gulps, those Slurpees, anything super-sized or even venti at Starbucks.

CITIZENS: That’s okay.

REPORTER: No it's not, according to Mayor Bloomberg, set to propose a ban on sugary drinks over 16 ounces everywhere, all across the city.

CITIZEN: I disagree with it because it's the right to choose. If you want to drink a Slurpee, you should be able to drink a Slurpee.

CITIZEN: He's done a lot of good, but this he shouldn’t do

REPORTER: We found this tourist enjoying his sugary iced coffee, these police officers actually fighting over Slurpees, or how about the Gatorade, fountain drinks at the movies, and yes, the popular Big Gulp—all would be banned.

CITIZEN: that's a good idea. a lot of obese people in New York.

REPORTER: And the mayor apparently agrees, taking aim at sugar in the sodas and juices in an effort to reduce New York City's waistline but the New York City Beverage Association is opposed. Saying, "The city is not going to address the obesity issue by attacking soda because soda is not driving the obesity rates…the overall American diet is." Either way, lovers of the sugary drinks say Bloomberg should take a dip.

CITIZEN: Mayor Bloomberg, let us have our Slurpees.

Bloomberg has had several other ideas, including a ban on smoking in almost every corner of the city, including private residences.

The mayor, who shuns labels of any sort, insisted he is not trying to control peoples’ lives. "New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something," he said Wednesday. "I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do."

In other news, a state board in North Carolina has sought to ban private citizens from posting nutrition advice on the Internet.