Update: Well, that’s that, folks. It was expected that NYC’s Board of Health would vote to approve Mayor Bloomberg’s pet ban on sodas and sugary drinks over 16 ounces at movie theaters, restaurants and other venues and guess what? It happened, and the proposal has been approved.
The Wall Street Journal notes that the ban will go into effect on March 12 and will make sugary drinks in containers over 16 ounces a thing of the past at restaurants, mobile food carts, delis and concessions at movie theaters, stadiums or arenas. The proposal passed almost unanimously with a vote of eight to zero, with one abstention, one absence and one vacancy on the board.
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Can you taste the dread in the air? That’s the flavor of fear from many New York City dwellers who could lose their big sodas at movie theaters, restaurants and other public venues as of a vote today by the Board of Health. There’s still hope for the oversized sugar drink lovers, however. While the plan is likely to pass what might be a final vote, the overwhelming amount of public interest in the ban could keep the proposal from becoming an official regulation.
Advocates of the plan like its biggest fan Mayor Michael Bloomberg see it as a way to combat rising obesity rates, noting that if people have to buy a separate cup of soda to get more then 16 ounces, they might just stop there and save themselves some calories. Those calories add up — if someone drinks a soda every day for a year, it makes a difference of 14,600 calories, notes the Associated Press. That’s enough to add four pounds of fat to your body.
There’s been quite a hullabaloo since Bloomberg announced his plan, and the Health Department says it’s received more than 38,000 written and oral comments about it since it hit the news four months ago.
Some of the biggest opponents of the plan are, of course, those who make and sell soda. Those companies say they’re unfairly being painted as the culprit and it’s just not fair. Movie theaters are bummed and say patrons shouldn’t be punished on a fun night out.
“We firmly believe the choices made during the other 363 days have a much greater impact on public health,” said a spokeswoman for AMC Theatres.
If the plan is passed by the board, it might take effect next March. No one is quite sure what would happen to change that or if anything is going to be switched up before the expected vote today. The board has said it’s been reviewing the mass of public comments.
NYC big-soda crackdown plan goes to vote Thursday [Associated Press]