There is a proposal in New York City put forth by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to ban the sale of sodas over 16 oz at restaurants, delis, food carts and movie theaters. The intention is to curb the empty calories New Yorkers consume. The ban wouldn’t effect diet drinks or grocery stores. I disagree with this in principle because it’s a fool’s errand. There are countless ways to consume junk calories. People could get around the ban by buying two 16 oz sodas thereby cancelling the purpose of the ban. Additonally, according to one study, people on average would end up saving only about 63 calories.
Aside from the marginal improvement it also feels paternalistic. We’re all responsible for our consumption decisions. If someone would like to buy a giant tankard of soda that’s fine by me. The smoking ban he enacted on the other hand had a net benefit as second hand smoke is dangerous to all. I wouldn’t go so far as to claim the large soda ban is taking away freedoms etc. We’re talking about the right to drink sugar water not, say, religion or medicaid. I applaud his intentions but the only thing that will remedy obesity is self-control something that it difficult to regulate or legislate. If the ban goes into effect will it lead to soda speakeasies?