New York City's move to ban the sale of large sodas has renewed debate about soft drinks and obesity, with the possibility that other cities could follow suit. But it's unclear how far other local governments will go in restricting sodas, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
New York's new rule would make it illegal to serve sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces in restaurants, movie theaters, stadium concession stands and other establishments that receive inspection grades from the city health department. The ban, pushed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is the broadest soft-drink restriction in the country.
Following New York's announcement, members of Washington, D.C.'s City Council said they may impose soft drink restrictions of their own. The mayor of Cambridge, Mass., also proposed restrictions similar to New York's.
Since 2009, according to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, municipalities and states across the nation have taken steps to limit or tax sugar-sweetened drinks. Thirteen cities and counties have banned the drink sales on municipal property, while 19 states and eight cities have proposed excise taxes on the drinks.
But on Election Day, voters in the California cities of El Monte and Richmond overwhelmingly rejected proposals to raise revenues by taxing sugary drinks. The measures' defeat, backed by a reported $4 million campaign by the soft-drink industry, mirrors other unsuccessful efforts by local governments to restrict or tax sugary drinks.
The beverage industry is also fighting back in court. The American Beverage Association and other industry groups filed a lawsuit to block the New York City soft-drink ban, which is scheduled to take effect in March.
The prospect of legal challenges could dissuade other cities as well. Local governments will likely be reluctant to follow New York's lead because cities "will not follow a bad idea," John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest, told the Journal-Constitution.