After the city Board of Health last Thursday passed the so-called soda ban, which would limit the size of sugary drinks in many venues to 16 ounces, City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) and state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) decried the controversial rule as the mayor was lauding its passage.
Halloran, who has been a vocal opponent of the ban, called the decision “arbitrary and capricious” and pointed out a number of its loopholes.
“We still have choices. We can take our snack business away from the corner mom-and-pop deli to supermarkets and franchise convenience stores,” he said. “We can miss more of the movie or more of the game to wait [in line] a second time. We can buy a second 12-ounce can rather than a single 20-ounce bottle. That’s 120 percent of the soda, but the mayor has his own math.”
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said that while he agreed something must be done to address the city’s growing obesity problem, he thinks the rule goes too far.
“There are surely other ways to curb obesity rates in this city that do not involve infringing on an individual’s personal choices,” he said. Today the mayor is saying you can’t have a big soda. What’s next?
He said Mayor Michael Bloomberg should be more focused on more pressing issues such as school budgets and affordable housing.
“As residents receive less and less city services, they need initiatives that will produce real, tangible results, not gimmicks like the soda ban,” Avella said.
The soda rule is a first-of-its-kind measure that will limit the size of sugary drinks in any establishment that requires a city Department of Health grade, including restaurants, movie theaters and sports arenas. It will not apply to alcoholic beverages, fruit juice or milk-based drinks.
Bloomberg has said the ban will help curb the costs of treating obesity-related ailments, which he says is $4 billion per year.
“NYC’s new sugary drink policy is the single biggest step any government has taken to curb obesity,” the mayor, who proposed the rule, said in a tweet. “It will help save lives.”
Other supporters such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest have also pointed out that soda and other sugary drinks provide more calories than any other source in the American diet.
The ban will take effect March 12, 2013, but the city will not begin fining vendors who violate the ban until mid-June.
The Board of Health passed the rule in a vote of 8-0, with one member abstaining, one member absent and one vacancy on the board.
Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cn
©2012 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.