Dan Griffin – Special to The Southern News –
The recent soda ban handed down by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has caused much discourse among residents of the city as well as many people in our country who see the act as unwanted government interference.
“All restaurants, fast-food joints, delis, movie theaters, sports stadiums and even food carts will be barred from selling sugar-sweetened drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces,” said Jill Colvin of the Huffington Post.
What the ban does not include are diet sodas, drinks sold in grocery stores, drinks with 50% milk or 70% juice, and alcoholic drinks.
Bloomberg states that the legislation is a start towards fighting the current obesity crisis.
As of 2012, “More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese,” says the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
While it is definitely necessary to fight obesity in our country, and starting in the biggest city will certainly give it more attention, it does not seem like the large soda ban will cause much of a change.
Since people cannot buy these large drinks at the places above, they might simply avoid buying drinks from these places altogether since they can go to the grocery store for their soda. They also can still buy multiple sodas, so it is still possible for people to overindulge on soda if they decide to.
While the soda ban may fight obesity, not banning diet soda is also a huge flaw in this plan. Diet sodas are much more detrimental to your health since they contain artificial sweeteners like aspartame. According to naturalnews.com journalist Mike Adams, these diet drinks are a much bigger problem than the sugary drinks addressed in the legislation.
“Aspartame causes neurological damage and early-onset Alzheimer’s. But that’s just what New York needs, it seems: A wave of crabby, soda-drinking senior citizens who are half blind and can’t remember where their apartment building is located,” said Adams.
Furthermore, this act of government interference is not being adopted well by the citizens of the city. Many people believe that the government should not control what people drink or what size drinks people are allowed to have.
The words “nanny state” have been thrown at Bloomberg’s legislation in regards to how he is treating the city. Nanny state is a word of British origin which describes a government which is too overprotective and usually interferes with personal choices, such as a nanny does with her children.
Many New Yorkers do not agree with this nanny state legislation. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows that voters over 50 disagreed with the law, while the younger voters were split on the decision. Also, the poll says “New York City voters say 56 – 39 percent that the proposed soda ban would not be effective in reducing obesity rates.”
Only time will tell if this legislation will have an impact on the city’s obese population. If it does, don’t be too surprised if more of similar soda bans pop up in cities across the nation.