Nanny Bloomberg Strikes Again with Big Gulp Crackdown

On Wednesday, New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg rolled out another of the infamous health initiatives that have earned him the derisive nickname “Nanny Bloomberg”.  In the near future, “large” sugary beverages, sixteen ounces or larger, will join cigarettes and trans fat on a growing list of items that New Yorkers are told not to consume.

This far-reaching ban would impact all “food-service establishments” including restaurants, movie theaters, arenas, concert halls, and street vendors prohibiting them from selling sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks, sweetened coffee, and certain fruit juices in any size above sixteen ounces.  Grocery and convenience stores are exempt from the new ban, which also would not apply to milk-based drinks, diet sodas, or fruit juices containing at least 70percent real juice.  To clear up confusion regarding exactly which drinks New Yorkers can and cannot have, Bloomberg released this helpful infographic:

In explaining his decision, Mayor Bloomberg cited the alarming rise in obesity among residents of New York City, where over half the adult residents are classified by the Board of Health as either overweight or obese.  In Bloomberg’s own words, “New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something.  I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do.” Absent from the Mayor’s self-adulation is evidence that regressive taxation or punitive bans actually do anything to combat obesity. In fact, with obesity much more prevalent in poorer communities, it is hard to see how making consumer choices more expensive will do anything to address health concerns.

Bloomberg’s proposal will now go before the Board of Health for final approval, which he is almost sure to receive given that he appointed every current member.  Appeals to individual liberties notwithstanding, soon the Big Gulp will be a thing of the past in the Big Apple, as Nanny Bloomberg continues his quest to conquer obesity, one sweetened ice tea at a time.

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