Bloomberg’s plan to ban soda

On May 30th, New York City Michael Bloomberg proposed a plan to place a ban on the sale of soda larger than 16 oz in restaurants, movie theaters, fast-food chains, and street vendors according to a New York Times article.  Mr. Bloomberg has gotten a reputation over the years from his critics as “Nanny Bloomberg” due to his campaigns against obesity, the soda ban being the most recent. Since his arrival in office, he has instituted bans on smoking in public areas, required restaurants to post calorie counts, and prohibitions against artificial trans fats, so props to Bloomberg this time!

Despite the effort though, there are still loopholes in his proposal. For example, it doesn’t regulate diet sodas, which contain aspertame which has been of questionable safety, nor does it regulate other high calorie, high sugar content drinks, which could very well be equally worse. However, overall, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

There have been mixed responses to he proposal too. The biggest critique so far has been that this ban has “just gone too far” and interferes with people’s personal freedom. However, I think that a.) it limits your personal freedom in no way; he isn’t banning soda- if you wanted a 16 oz, just buy two 8 oz. All the proposal is is symbolic of getting the message across. Personally, I don’t think it’s going to cause big practical change, but the shift in ideology is what counts. And b.) going back to my reasons, banning 16 oz sodas in restaurants is not different than making alcohol illegal to minors. It’s actually lot less constricting!

Some citizens are saying that simply banning the 16 oz won’t do much, and they’d much rather promote education instead. But the deal is though, the reason why he banned it was because education wasn’t working. It’s true, despite all of these campaigns, numbers have rarely decreased. The catch with the ban is that in order for it to really be effective and resonate with the public, it’s critical that people understand why the ban is happening, and perceive it to be a meaningful policy action, not just some arbitrary law.

Here are some reactions from New Yorkers posted on the New York Times website.

Soda has similar effects to alcohol, just without the buzz, according to Dr. Lustig, one of my new favorite professors. (read my first post to discover why) It has been proven to be a huge contributing factor to obesity, despite what the big companies and “public health” ads they put out. Trust me, I don’t think anyone can think of a better reason for the rising obesity rates in this country. It’s a fact, just like global warming is a fact now, having gone through much debate. And for that reason, I’m glad Mayor Bloomberg has decided to take this initial step, and I sincerely hope that his efforts will continue with minimal obstructions.

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