Industry Group Takes Message To Streets To Oppose Bloomberg’s Proposed Sugar Soda Ban

A group created by the American soft drink industry is fighting back against NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s latest Nanny State mandate: to ban sugar sodas larger than 16 ounces at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts. New Yorkers for Beverage Choices has been sending its message out across the city—including the local Regal/United Artists movie theater in Brooklyn Heights.

An article in The New York Times highlights efforts coordinated by the industry and several national movie theater chains in what is likely to be a major PR campaign against the ban’s insistence that adults cannot make their own decisions. On July 4th, an airborne banner flew along the Rockaways and Coney Island beaches, saying: “NO DRINK 4 U.” Likewise, at a Battery Park AMC movie theater, ushers, ticket-takers & concession workers wore T-shirts with the message, “I picked out my beverage all by myself.” And on the marquee outside the Regal Theater in Brooklyn Heights was a call to arms: “Say No to the NYC Ban.”

Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser insists the the city’s Board of Health “make(s) decisions about public health based on science.” That’s simply not true: All members of New York’s Board of Health are personally appointed by Mayor Bloomberg, insuring that the deck—and the vote—are stacked in his favor. Bloomberg’s latest war on fun looks to ban the sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces. The Board will vote on the mandate following a July 24 public hearing.

New Yorkers for Beverage Choices will continue its efforts, including high-flying airplane banners at area beaches again this weekend. And inside the Heights theater on Court Street, movie-goers can sign a petition against the mayor’s plan. Information cards and posters will also be displayed in United Artists and AMC venues. AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan notes, “We are bewildered by the proposal to choose an ineffective gimmick to address a critical health issue.”

(Photo: New York Times)

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  • BH’er

    As much as I am against this law (and any others like it), I also think the t-shirts that proclaim “I picked out my drink all by myself” should include the clause, “I also paid for my health care bills all by myself”

    or, perhaps, the beverage industry can help with those costs

    Drink up!

  • Andrew

    While I’m not really in favor of the Mayor’s proposed ban, I approve of his reasoning far more than I support the industry’s opposition to it. Rather than a ban, I would wholeheartedly endorse a heavy tax on these ginormous sodas to fund public health.

  • Jorale-man

    I think the proposed law makes a sensible statement even if it’s practical effects may be debatable. Americans are morbidly obese and it’s getting worse every day. Watch the people coming and going at the Court Street cinema and you get a perfect example of what health advocates are up against.

    The way the sugary beverage lobby tries to frame this as a question of personal freedom is inherently false – all kinds of food and drink is regulated to some degree. For example, Coca-cola couldn’t sell a product with gasoline in it, or cocaine or some other toxin. An extreme example, yes, but high doses of sugar aren’t so good for people either.

    Ultimately the growing numbers of fat people will burden our health care system and drive up costs – another reason why perhaps it’s for our own good that we have a “nanny state.”

  • Fritz

    What’s to stop someone from buying 2 16 oz at once, or a 12 and a 16?, or 2 12’s?

    Anyway, as long as it doesn’t apply to beer, I don’t have a dog in this fight.

    Regarding Jorale-man’s comment on cocaine, Coke contained cocaine back in the day. Now it’s the largest purchaser of caffeine, although I was told it’s caffeine extracted from coffee, not synthesized. And it’s not sugar, it’s high fructose corn syrup.

  • my2cents

    Clearly market forces are what led to the absurd sizes of today’s soda, popcorn and candy. What makes the beverage and theater industry morally culpable is that they never question the basic issue of whether it’s a good thing to enable peoples’ bad habits. If you read Fast Food Nation, it describes the fact that the difference in cost between a small drink and a huge one is negligible to the seller, so charging an extra few bucks for the giant size means exponential increase in profits. What we have is gluttonous companies fleecing gluttonous people. I believe this is called codependency?

  • my2cents

    Also, if the movie theaters cared so damn much about individual freedom, why don’t they let people bring in their own food and drinks!!

  • David on Middagh

    I suppose that originally, the sugar in soda was meant to settle the stomach, give one some pep, and make a slightly disagreeable potion more potable. But that was when people typically took 6- or 8-ounce portions.

    Today I ordered a small ice coffee from a Montague St. vendor. The smallest container held 16 ounces, double the size of a coffee cup. I’ll probably be up until 3 A.M.

  • Luke C

    Just because we’ve harnessed the evils of greed and gluttony to power capitalism doesn’t neutralize their destructive natures. Of course greedy corporations are not going to look out for our health when it means they can make a few more bucks – that’s why we, the gluttonous people, empower government to act on our collective behalf against those organizations that abuse our individual ignorance and powerlessness.

  • Eddyenergizer

    Fritz, High Fructose Corn Syrup is pure sugar, half fructose and about half glucose. the latter is what makes it so bad. Glucose goes straight into your bloodstream minutes after consumption, unless you are engaged in some sort of physical activity to burn it off, your body will convert it into fat.

  • Publius

    Since when did BHB become so slanted? Oh, since Homer stopped writing most of the posts.

  • WillowSt.Neighbor

    Please explain. Slanted? In what way?

    Anyway, it’s the people who need to take responsibility for what they put into their mouths. I have a childhood friend who is morbidly obese and has been for decades. Just try to take her ice cream away from her and see what you get? She can barely walk these days and has type 2 diabetes and yet she is taking absolutely no responsibility for her health. This situation is similar to that of a person with an addictive personality only it’s food instead of drugs/alcohol. I doubt whether taking away the Big Gulp will make much of a difference.

  • Andrew Porter

    I am sticking to my theory that when aliens invade this planet, they are going to use the fattest members of the human race as hors d’oeuvres!

    I have foiled their dastardly plans by losing more than 60 pounds since 2000, and have kept it off. If they want to eat me, they’ll have to debone me first!

  • j

    The faux outrage is only generated by the misconception that it is a “ban on soda.” You can still buy soda and you can still buy 2 16oz cups if you really want 32oz. But the proposal is just trying to make the drinker conscientious that 32oz of pure sugar is not a normal serving size for one person. Neither is 16oz but that would probably be pushing it. I don’t think it’s such a terrible thing. I don’t think it would actually be that effective anyway (don’t most movie theaters have free refills anyway?) But I think it serves as a deterrent much the same way listing the calories on menus does. For the people that don’t care, they are going to eat it anyway. But some people might make a better decision when they see a “Crumbs” cupcake has 800 calories.

  • Soapy Johnson

    Mayor Bloomberg to ban cannibals in New York City from eating anyone over 5-foot-4 —