Restricting sweet beverages per head is one way New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg is trying to make his city just a little bit healthier, but some opponents will have none of the sugary ban.
Bloomberg aims to restrict drink size in restaurants, theaters and vendors to a maximum size of 16 ounces, roughly equal to half a liter at a reasonable price per head.
“I look across this country, and people are obese, and everybody wrings their hands, and nobody’s willing to do something about it,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.
But banning colas and sodas isn’t the first thing the city has chosen to limit their residents on.
“You think this was bad?” Bloomberg asked. With the smoking ban, “everybody was opposed to it. Today, virtually every major city in America does it … whole countries!
Back in 2002 the city adopted a smoking bylaw (Smoke Free Air Act) which prohibited smoking in bars and restaurants and other public indoor spaces after the success of the 1985 restaurant ban in Aspen, Colorado, the 1990 ban for all indoor public spaces, including bars and restaurants in San Luis Obispo, California and a 1999 bylaw in Toronto, Canada. In 2011, the city then chose to ban smoking in all outdoor spaces including parks, beaches and pools.
“If people are yelling and screaming, there’s nothing you can do about that. I mean, this is ridiculous.”
Bloomberg called obesity “the single biggest public health issue in the country.”
“It’s the first disease that’s gone from being a rich person’s disease to a poor person’s disease,” he continued.”Look at the pictures of the old robber barons with their big stomachs out in the ’20s. They were proud that they were fat. They all died young, but they were proud until that. Today it is poor people who are dying much more. And the numbers are just off the charts.”
The current proposal will be submitted to the New York City Board of Health on June 12. The board will go through a three-month comment period and vote per head on the proposal.