NYC Soda Ban Stopped In Its Tracks

“Arbitrary and capricious:” with these words, Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan invalidated the much-publicized ban on large-size sugary drinks in New York City that has been a central feature of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s public health initiatives.

The rule was to go in effect on Tuesday, March 12; Justice Tingling blocked the ban just one day before and gave the Bloomberg administration — which had even announced on Monday that the new rule should be applied nationally to reduce obesity rates — something of a shock.

The ban, announced in May of 2011, had put the beverage industry (quaking at the thought of losing millions of dollars) on the defensive. The proposed ban in New York City has been closely watched. Officials in other cities including Los Angeles have also been considering similar bans and some states (Hawaii, Nebraska) are considering taxes on soda sales.

Justice Tingling’s objections were based on what he described as inconsistencies about where the ban was to apply and what sorts of drinks would fall under it. Restaurants, food carts, movie theaters and bowling allies were to adhere to the “no big sugary drink” rule, but not convenience stores and grocery stores which are beyond the city health department’s purview.†While large-sized containers of soda were to be banned, beverages with what Justice Tingling said were “significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories” than these — such as certain coffee-and-milk drinks — were exempt. Under the ban, customers would still be allowed to get a soda refill so long as the cup was no larger than 16 ounces and thereby “defeat and/or serve to gut the purpose the rule.”

In addition, the justice ruled that, by going through the health department instead of through the city council to institute the ban, Bloomberg had overstepped his executive powers.

A lawyer from†Latham & Watkins, the international firm representing the beverage industry, commented that “scientists in the room, working with the mayor, [are] creating a regulation here that is going to cost people a ton of money.”

The lawyer’s words were meant to mock what is called a “ludicrous” soda ban. But, in a funny way, his comment is too accurate. Scientific studies have linked sugary drinks to obesity and Bloomberg has seized on these in his efforts to make New Yorkers healthier. Yes, the beverage industry stood to lose a “ton of money” from the ban but plenty of people are also paying plenty to deal with diabetes, high blood pressure and other health problems linked to obesity.

To get a good idea of why we need to place limits on supersize sugary drinks, check out this infographic about “The National Sugar Rush.”


The National Sugar Rush: A Look at Americaís Soda Consumption

Related Care2 Coverage

Who Does Coca-Cola Think Itís Fooling?

Is Your Diet Drink Making You Depressed?

UK Groups Say Fight Childhood Obesity With a Soda Tax



Photo from Thinkstock

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Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener2 years ago

Well they had a good thing going....

stacey t.
Stacey Toda2 years ago

Ha Ha Bloomberg

Patrish Dehler
Patricia Dehler2 years ago

There are some things you can't control with laws no matter if it's for our own good or not. What we eat and drink is one of them. it also makes people resentful. Our government has enough on it's plate. They do not need to be regulations people who want their sugary drinks, fattening food, and meat. it's impossible to regulate healthy lifestyles. When it comes to health insurance charge them higher premium if if they are overweight, smoking, etc. When it hits them in the pocket it may make an impact. Humans are extremely lazy. I know that if I buy individual food, and cook them with limited seasoning it's better for me. But do I? No, I reach for the frozen food meal mixes, etc. Why because I'm lazy!

Patricia H.
Patricia H.2 years ago


Leuth Novotny
.2 years ago

figured this is about what would go down

Charli S.
Charlotte S.2 years ago

If Bloomberg wants to appeal the order then he should use HIS own money not the money of the tax payers, most of who do NOT support this idiocy.

Charli S.
Charlotte S.2 years ago

As free Americans it's our RIGHT to eat, drink, etc what we want. NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO DECIDE FOR US. I am against any type of censorship or banning of items. Every American has the right to live their life as they want as long as they don't infringe on the rights of others. Bloomberg was WRONG in his ban. Just WHAT gives HIM the right to make decisions for anyone else? I'm sick to death of the government making choices for me. All I ask is that things be labeled so I can make INFORMED choices and if I want to eat hot dogs or drink 400 oz of soda THAT'S MY RIGHT AS AN ADULT. This NANNY STATE BS must stop. NOW

Summerannie Moon
Summerannie M.2 years ago

I havent drunk this for decades when we were told it was ' good for us' and 'healthy' There was no info back then and now I suffer the consequences. The side effects on the long if not short term is horrendous. Sometimes when you find out there is no going back. Better to drop it like a ton of bricks today!

Darren Woolsey
Darren Woolsey2 years ago

Thanks for the information... tweeted, shared around...

Mit Wes
Mit Wes2 years ago

Undetered, Mayor Bloomberg declares he will appeal the decision, saying he will eventually drink from the under 16oz cup of victory.