New York City Approves Ban on Large Sodas

New York City becomes the first city to ban restaurants from selling large sodas.


Earlier this week, Mountain Dew posted ads protesting the New York City ban on large sodas.

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg got his wish: The city's board of health voted to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces Thursday.

Under the ban, restaurants, food carts, cafeterias, and concession stands, such as those in movie theaters, won't be allowed to sell sodas larger than 16 ounces in the city.

[Report: Coke, Pepsi Outreach Plans Are Harming Public Health]

Fans of super-sized drinks will have a while to adjust to the ban and stock up: it won't take effect until March 12, 2013; the city will start fining businesses that violate the ban in June.

In a statement last week supporting the ban, Bloomberg took a stand against super-sized sodas.

"As the size of sugary drinks has grown, so have our waistlines," he said. "Our proposal for reasonable portion sizes won't prevent anyone from buying or drinking as much soda as they want, but it will help people keep from inadvertently taking in junk calories simply because the small drink they ordered was actually very large."

[Opinion: Michael Bloomberg's Soda Ban Won't Solve the Obesity Problem]

In a tweet after the board approved the ban, Bloomberg said "6 months from today, our city will be an even healthier place."

New York City has long been a trendsetter on health issues. In 2006, the city famously voted to ban transfats at restaurants, a move that took effect in 2008. A report released in July found that the ban has forced people to eat healthier. In 2008, the city also required fast food chains to prominently post calorie counts on menus.

Mountain Dew ads blasting the ban started plastering the city earlier this week—the ads read "Prohibition, New York City" and feature a 17-ounce Mountain Dew can that's "also available in legal sizes."

New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, an organization which opposes the ban, blasted the news in a press release, saying the health board "rubberstamped" the ban and that the ban goes against the wishes of New Yorkers and would hurt small business owners. The group is considering filing legal action against the city.

Last month, a New York Times poll found that about 60 percent of New Yorkers opposed the ban.

"The fix was in from the beginning, and the Mayor's handpicked board followed their orders by passing this discretionary ban," Liz Berman, chairperson of the organization, said in a statement. "We are smart enough to make our own decisions about what to eat and drink."

The board voted to pass the ban eight to zero, with one member abstaining.

Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at

Updated 9/13/12, 1 p.m.: This article has been updated to include statements from New Yorkers for Beverage Choices.