The city of New York is seeking additional ways to enhance the health of its residents. One might be inclined to suggest that these moves are forced – since they are being enacted through law – but nonetheless the ultimate aim of enhancing the quality of NYC health is a noteworthy goal.
With this in mind, two recent laws/bans were put in place. The first was connected to smoking and the second, to sugary drinks. Earlier this month a federal judge upheld the ban on using coupons that basically prevents New Yorkers from getting cheaper prices on cigarettes in the city that currently has one of the highest prices on cigarettes. Not only is this a victory for the anti-smoking groups but also for NYC health promotion. Since it was ruled by Thomas Griesa, U.S. District Judge was able to enact this ruling since it does not impinge on manufacturers’/sellers’ free-speech rights, adding that all it does is “regulate pricing, not speech, and thus, does not violate the First Amendment.”
Another way NYC health may be enhanced is through bringing back the city’s ban on large sodas. This ban – that was first enacted back in 2012 by then Mayor Michael Bloomberg – disabled the selling of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces at eateries in the city as well as movie theaters, etc. But it was overturned by lower courts. According to Richard Dearing, Assistant Corporation Counsel, “the largest source of added sugar in the American diet, 40 percent of added sugar comes from sugary drinks. They’re empty calories. They don’t provide nutritional value. … They’re not filling. What that means is when you consume calories from sugary drinks, you don’t reduce other caloric consumption.” Even though New York City is the only jurisdiction requesting such a ban, several others have tried.
While American Beverage Association spokesperson Chris Gindlesperger said such a ban would have a “negative impact on businesses throughout the city,” it could go a long way in enhancing NYC health – which ultimately should be a longer-term goal of any city. As Mary Bassett, the city’s Health Commissioner pointed out, we do really have to call into question “the beverage industry’s continued promotion of these unhealthy products in communities most burdened by obesity and diabetes.”
These are just a few ways that the city is trying to legally enhance NYC health.