New York 'Soda Ban' Passes in NYC: Will It Actually Work?

'Our City Will Be an Even Healthier Place,' Says Mayor Bloomberg

The New York soda ban first proposed by NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg passed Thursday nearly unanimously among the Board of Health. The measure means sugary drinks larger than 16 oz. will become a thing of the past.

The New York soda ban was passed by eight members of the Board of Health- one, Dr. Sixto R. Caro, abstained- meaning that sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened fruity drinks, sweet teas, and sweetened coffees will disappear from various city venues. Restaurants, food carts, movie theaters, and other large venues will be affected by the new legislation.

The new law will not apply to grocery stores, diet sodas, alcoholic drinks, and anything that is more than 70 percent actual fruit juice or over 50 percent milk- those are thought to be at least somewhat healthy.

"[Six] months from today, our city will be an even healthier place," tweeted the mayor, sticking to his philosophy that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages- there have been vocal critics of the new law. "Portion size drives consumption."

However, some argue that public opinion does not favor the ban, with 51 percent of NYCers opposed, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Furthermore, critics say the mayor is jumping the gun, and that the plan could do more harm than good to the city.

"I am still skeptical," Dr. Caro told the Associated Press. "This is not comprehensive enough."

"The New York City health department's unhealthy obsession with attacking soft drinks is again pushing them over the top," Stefan Friedman, a spokesman for the beverage industry, previously stated in May, when Bloomberg first introduced the idea. "It's time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solution that are going to actually curb obesity. These zealous proposals just distract from the hard work that needs to be done on this front."

Obesity certainly is an increasing problem. 60 percent of adult and 40 percent of kids in NYC are overweight, which could cause health problems later on, according to the mayor's office. Researchers say that the ban could actually decrease the city's calorie intake, but only if at least 40 percent of the population switches to the smaller portion sizes.

"In most but not all of our simulations, the policy appears to be associated with a decrease in calories from sugar-sweetened beverages purchased at fast-food restaurants," scientists from the New York University School of Medicine wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine July 23.