- (Photo: Reuters/Kena Betancur)
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is calling for a ban on all 16-ounce and larger beverages. The move is rather bold, given how many vendors sell large beverages, and Bloomberg's plan is being met with resistance and criticism from a variety of sources.
Bloomberg is famous for banning smoking in restaurants and other indoor gathering places.
"In New York City, smoking deaths are down to 7,000 a year from something in the 20s. Obesity deaths are at 5,000 and skyrocketing," Bloomberg told Diane Sawyer. "Obesity will kill more people than smoking in the next couple of years."
"It's purely education," he added. "It forces you to see the difference, in the case of the two different sized cups. The public does act when they get the information. And all we're doing here is saying, 'If you want to order 32 ounces of soda, in a restaurant that we supervise, this restaurant must give you two 16-ounce glasses.'"
New York City has already been covered with ads showing a glass full of fat and sugar, and limbs lost due to diabetes. The ads advertise switching the sugary beverages for water or milk. Bloomberg faces a stiff battle in trying to ban the large-size drinks: the Board of Health will have to approve the measure, and they will have plenty of time to hear from small-scale vendors and large-scale companies such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's.
The New York Times editorial board has come out against Bloomberg's plan.
"The administration should be focusing its energies on programs that educate and encourage people to make sound choices … but too much nannying with a ban on might well cause people to tune out," they said.
"National Donut Day," noted Susan Durrwachter. "Mayor Bloomberg supports donuts but wants to ban super-sized soda. I'm confused."
"Your argument, I guess, could be that it's a little less convenient to have to carry two 16-ounce drinks to your seat in the movie theater rather than one 32-ounce. I don't think you can make the case that we're taking things away," Bloomberg told the press on Wednesday.