RIP Supersized Sodas: NYC Passes Ban on Large Sugary Drinks

Mayor Mike Bloomberg's push to cap drink sizes at 16 ounces was passed by the city's Board of Health.
Love soda? Next time you're in New York, you may need to buy two. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Sep 13, 2012· 1 MIN READ
Nichol Nelson hails from Minnesota, but has worked in food journalism in New York and Los Angeles for more than a decade. She served as an editor with Gourmet magazine for six years, and has contributed to several other digital and print food publications.

New Yorkers, it might be time to embrace water—or at least dial back your thirst. After today's Health Board vote, huge sodas are off the table.

Yep, Mike "Nanny" Bloomberg's ban on sugary drinks bigger than 16 ounces passed today, wiping out future sales of supersize Sprites and giant energy drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts. It will go into effect in March of 2013 unless a judge steps in to stop it, reports The New York Times.

Bloomberg celebrated his victory on Twitter: "NYC's new sugary drink policy is the single biggest step any gov't has taken to curb obesity," he wrote. "It will help save lives."

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But soda companies aren't quite as excited about the news, vowing to fight the measure.

"This is not the end," Eliot Hoff, a spokesman for New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, an industry-financed group opposed to the soda-sales restrictions, said in an e-mail to the Times. "We are exploring legal options, and all other avenues available to us."

Bloomberg's taken a hit for imposing a "nanny state" in his attempt to advance public health initiatives, but he's been willing to accept criticism for his controversial measures. He's successfully pushed through a smoking ban in restaurants and bars, banned trans fats, and mandated calorie counts for fast-food chains in New York City.

The newly passed measure makes it illegal to sell sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces in establishments that receive inspection grades from the city. Energy drinks, sweetened iced tea, and soda all fall under this umbrella. Fruit juices, alcoholic beverages and diet sodas are exempt.

Though movie theaters and street carts are included in the ban, the law won't effect vending convenience stores, since they're not graded by the health department.

So rejoice, soda fans. Double Big Gulps will live to see another day.