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Will the Great New York Soda Ban Do What It’s Supposed to Do?

Posted Sep 29 2012 11:55am

The big health news for New Yorkers this week – the soda ban that was just approved by the New York City Board of Health.  It may be a bit petty to some (especially if you’re not a soda drinker) but it has a lot of implications that have New Yorkers clamoring and bickering on both sides of the fence.

It’s a restriction on basic freedom, it won’t work, it harms the economy, it’s a way to fight obesity, it’s supported by studies and it would work – the justifications are many and feel free to take your pick depending on which side you are on the argument.

Another aspect why this news is a big deal for New Yorkers and Americans alike is that this ban is unprecedented; and like any other policy, legislation, and event that are witnessed for the first time, Americans are concerned that this would open the floodgates to future restrictions of other basic rights.

New York Soda Ban picture

The New York soda ban is getting lots of coverage on the news.

The 2 Big Sides of the Fence

On one corner there’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who initiated and oversaw the passing of the soda ban together with the approval of the New York City Board.  Their side pointing out that soda contains a lot of sugar which is contributory to the obesity epidemic.  Therefore, banning it (actually limiting it, we’ll discuss the coverage of the “ban” later) can help with the fight obesity drive.

On the other corner is Eliot Hoff, who is the front man for a softdrinks-companies-funded organization called New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, as well as mayoral contender William Thompson.  It might sound self serving for the softdrinks companies but Mr. Hoff and the softdrinks companies do have legitimate points.  Aside from the violation of basic rights, Mr. Hoff also pointed out the economic repercussions like lost sales for small business.

As you can see, there’s a lot of political maneuvering involved as well, but let’s not get into that.

The Coverage of the Soda Ban

First off, the ban is not really a ban.  It’s more like a restriction.  To be implemented on March 12 of next year unless it is vetoed by a judge, the “ban” limits containers of sodas into 16 ounces or less.  Cups, cans, and bottles, anything that carries soda should not be larger than the 16 ounce capacity.

Other stipulations of the, ehem, ban is that it only covers establishments that receive health department inspection grades; which essentially limits it to restaurants, theaters, and stadiums.  Your favorite hotdog stand and your friendly neighborhood 7-Eleven are off the hook.

Lastly, this only covers regular sodas; even diet sodas are exempt.  If you’re into fruit juices, alcoholic beverages, milkshakes, or water, you might not mind what’s happening here.

Will It Make a Difference?

I’m not really sure how this would work, but I really feel that it’s a weak ban.  I mean what prevents a person from buying 2, 3, or 4 orders for a total of 32, 48, 64 ounces respectively?  What prevents movie goers from bringing their own large water bottles and just filling it up?  And has anyone ever heard of a refill?

It’s not really a soda ban; it’s more like a soda container restriction.  So can a soda container restriction really solve the obesity problem?  With the provisions of this ban being too loose and hard to implement, I’m not seeing the effect it can contribute.  But that’s just one person’s opinion.

As for all those soda lovers in New York, you have until March 12 to come up with a way to prevent this ban from being laid down or start acquiring a taste for other beverages.

About The Author: Wanda Mariano is the Editor of online diet reviews resource: She has multiple diet product reviews to her credit (a  review of the Old School New Body program  considered one of her best) and serves as a contributor to some of the top health and weight loss blogs online.

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