Mayor Michael Bloomberg defends ban on soft drinks bigger than 16oz in New York City

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell today to respond to the countless critics of his controversial big soda ban.

Comparing sugary soft drinks to asbestos, he argued that the government has a responsibility to regulate how New Yorkers quench their thirst.

He believes that banning the bubbles will combat obesity, diabetes, and other health problems plaguing the people of the Big Apple.

If Hizzoner has his way, any soft drink over 16 ounces (1 pint) will be outlawed across the city by March 2013 and restaurants that don’t fall in line will be slapped with a $200 fine.

‘The idea is you tend to eat all of the food in the container. If it’s bigger, you eat more,’ he said. ‘If somebody put a smaller glass or plate or bowl in front of you, you would eat less.’

Mayor Bloomberg, who was the driving force behind the city’s calorie counting and anti-smoking campaigns, hopes to implement the ban soon.

It will affect everything from 7-Eleven Big Gulps to Starbucks Ventis.

‘You can still buy large bottles in stores, but in a restaurant, 16 ounces is the maximum that they would be able to serve in one cup,’ he explained. ‘If you want to order two cups of the same time, that’s fine. It’s your choice.’

The proposed limit, 16 oz, is the equivalent to one pint, but it will not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks or alcoholic beverages.

It also would not affect beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.

‘We’re not taking away anybody’s right to do things, we’re forcing you to understand that you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another,’ he said to Mrs Mitchell.

Comparing oversize soda drinks in restaurants to asbestos exposure or smoke inhalation, he explains the government’s responsibility to ‘warn’ its citizens.

‘If there is asbestos in a room, we don’t allow people to go in there,’ he argues. ‘We would stop people from going in until the asbestos is cleaned up.’

Calling the rationing measure an ‘obligation,’ he claims its the same as protecting waiters from restaurant-goers smoke.

‘In New York City you can smoke. You can’t smoke where other people would have to be there and couldn’t — because they needed the job — leave,’ he said. ‘You can smoke in volunteer place but you can’t smoke in a place where there are employees.’

Besides his verbal arguments about civil liberties, Mayor Bloomberg also looked to statistics to push his unpopular proposal.

According to the New York City Health Department, more than half of adult New Yorkers are overweight (34 per cent) or obese (22 per cent).

Obesity also kills thousands of New Yorkers every year and costs $4billion in health care costs.

The single largest driver of these alarming obesity numbers is sugary drinks, according to Mayor Bloomberg, which have grown in size.

For example, the size of individual McDonald’s drinks have increased 457 per cent since 1955.

Mayor Bloomberg, who was the driving force behind the city’s calorie counting and anti-smoking campaigns, hopes to implement the ban soon.

His close attention to health issues has earned him the nickname ‘Nanny Bloomberg’ and it’s left a bad taste in some residents’ mouths.

‘If people want to drink 24 ounces, it’s their decision,’ said Zara Atal, 20, a college student from the Upper East Side to the New York Times.

Read more of this story on The Daily Mail UK


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