First, they came for cigarettes and I did not speak out because I was not a smoker. Then they came for trans-fats and I did not speak out because I don't eat much fast food. Then, they came for sugary sodas larger than 16 ounces and I still barely gave a damn, but was ready to admit it was getting a little ridiculous…
The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.
The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.
New York City happens to be a municipality where obstetrics and gynecologist residents receive training in abortion services as part of the general curriculum, rather than as an oft-bypassed elective. It's an important program, launched because New York's public health community understands the importance of ensuring that people have sovereignty over their own bodies. Unless, what you choose to do with that body doesn't involve an abortion or downing a liter of gin, but having a McCafe Cherry Berry Chiller.
Drinking sugary beverages does carry externalities that are ultimately paid for by taxpayer-funded health services, which is why a soda tax, rather than an outright ban, makes sense. As with cigarette taxes, soda drinkers can be asked to defray the social costs of unhealthy decisions without being treated like children.
In any case, this must be a prelude to a successful Bloomberg-led third-party presidential run — right, Tom Friedman? If there's anything that voters at Midwestern state fairs want, it's for a billionaire big city mayor to pry the Big Gulp from their cold, insulin-insensitive hands.
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Tags: Food, Health, Michael Bloomberg, New York City