NYC Board of Health has approved the controversial ban on sale of sugary drinks over 16 ounces. Despite objections (including on this blog) to the measure as the latest example of regulation for the Nanny State, the board passed the ban demanded by Mayor Bloomberg. The board insists that adults and parents cannot be trusted with such decisions and that health demands a ban. You absolutely, positively not order a large sugary drink . . . unless you put alcohol in it.
Ban applies fast-food joints, movie houses, Broadway theaters, workplace cafeterias and virtually everywhere you buy a soda. Of course, this merely means that Bloomberg is going to force you to buy multiple drinks like two eight ounce cups. Then again, you can get around this by adding booze which appears to make an unhealthy drink into a healthy beverage. Both alcoholic and milk-based drinks are exempt.
Moreover, if you derive less than 50% of their revenue from prepared foods — including 7-Eleven with its Big Gulp — can claim exemption. So you can fill up on sugary drinks next door as health inspectors crackdown on your restaurant.
The unanimous vote of this board shows how far we have gone toward the reduction of personal choices in various areas of life. I happen to agree with the board except for its view that it has the authority to make such decisions for people.
Honestly, if prohibition did not work for alcohol, it is likely to be even less successful for sodas. What is unclear is why Bloomberg is not also banning french fries, onion rings, and other unhealthy foods eaten in excessive quantities. How about requiring proof that a large stuffed pizza has no fewer than four persons willing to sign for it? I think people have a right to an unhealthy lifestyle. This is not like second-hand smoke that harms others. You can be around someone with a large soda and remain perfectly healthy.
The fact that there was not a single person on this board willing to vote with individual choice is perhaps the most alarming element of the story in my view.
What do you think?
Source: NY Post