Friday, September 14, 2012

New York's Soda Ban

I’m worn out with all the political chat. It’s debatable what the right thing to do in the Middle East might be. I can only guess the best way to fix our economy. To combat my mental shutdown on all things truly nation-changing, I am writing about a “big” topic that doesn’t confuse me.

In six months, residents of New York City will be limited in the purchase sugary drinks over 16 oz . Apparently, this is going to make strides in solving the obesity problem. Restaurants, concessions, food carts and delis are affected. Grocery and convenient stores are not.

So if I live in NYC, I can buy as many three-liter bottles of soda as I like (with food stamps even) at the grocery store. I can drink soda during all my waking hours as long as I do it at home. In contrast, if I attend a Yankees game, I can only buy 16 oz at a time.

This proposal was passed by the New York City Board of Health. The board is appointed by the mayor with approval of the city council. The positions are unpaid and terms are six years. The council is officially 11 members, all experts in various health and medical issues according to this web site.

In addition to improving the waistlines of New Yorkers, the new law will purportedly save money. NYC spends $4 billion per year on medical care for overweight people. Reportedly, 58% of the population of the region is obese. I assume that the $4 billion is spent on only the overweight people without their own health insurance. I didn’t see any statistics listing how much is spent on those that are not overweight. It seems like a pertinent question.

Presumably, diet soda is still subject to the law.

Another good question may be what economic effect might this have on outfits that currently sell large beverages? Supplies shouldn’t be an issue. They have warning. Sell down the stock of 32 oz cups and only buy 16 oz. The danger is in sales. But that’s easy, isn’t it? Just increase the price of the 16 oz. In fact, double the price of the 16 oz drink then offer “buy one, get one free.” Same amount of soda, same price, two containers, double the environmental impact! I suppose free refills work too.

Mayor Bloomberg has stated this is not the last step in combating obesity. I have some ideas for him. Limit the amount of meat on any sandwich to be not over 6 oz. A slice of pie can only be as large as 1/8 of a 12” radius dessert. No appetizers allowed. After all, these things may have some nutritional content but all of them have more fat than a giant soda. Also, alcohol has more calories than soda and also impairs judgment, so back to prohibition.

Before long, we will be living in a peaceful future where we are all vice-free. No swearing, no guns, no sex, no rock music, no violence and nothing that could possibly be bad for you. Also, Sylvester Stallone will save us. Or was that a movie?

Yeah, forget that last paragraph.

I rarely drink soda and I truly think no one needs copious quantities of it in a single serving. But since when does a body of government (non-elected at that) decide personal soda limit? I will decide what to do with my body. It is my property after all.

Suggesting to people what is best for them is a pretty good idea. Forcing them to do what’s best just breeds resentment and rebellion.


  1. Take that, health enforcers!