NEW YORK CITY - Working on the premise that big is bad, New York City will soon ban large soft drinks and other sugared beverages in an attempt to curb obesity, the New York Times reports. The ban proposed by the Bloomberg administration would cover any bottle or cup of sweetened drinks €" including energy drinks, sweet iced teas, and soda €" sold larger than 16 ounces in restaurants, movie theaters, street carts, delis and sports arenas.
The ban could go into effect as early as March 2013, and would exempt alcohol, diet soft drinks, fruit juices and dairy-based beverages such as milkshakes. Also exempt would be any beverage sold in grocery or convenience stores.
"Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, 'Oh, this is terrible,€™ " said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "New York City is not about wringing your hands; it€™s about doing something."
The New York City Beverage Association blasted the proposal, claiming that the city is unfairly targeting soft drinks. "The New York City health department€™s unhealthy obsession with attacking soft drinks is again pushing them over the top," said spokesman Stefan Friedman. "It€™s time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity. These zealous proposals just distract from the hard work that needs to be done on this front."
The Board of Health has to okay the proposal before it can be made final, a step most see as simply a formality given that Bloomberg had appointed the board. New York City already has outlawed trans fat and an extensive smoking ban.