Already last month New York witnessed a ban on serving trans fats in food in its eateries, but now it seems Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to take it a step further. With his proposal to ban large-size (16 ounces, approximately half a liter), sugary sodas in movie theaters, restaurants, vending carts and delis in the New York area, Bloomberg has caused a real stir. However, according to NY city officials, it seems that this new proposed ban may take effect as early as March 2013.
The Joke’s on Bloomberg
Alongside the criticism and attack Bloomberg has been receiving for his proposal, there have been some comics using it as material as well. On the “Daily Show,” Jon Stewart weighed in with a segment he called “Drink Differently.” While Stewart agrees that drinking less soda is healthier, he points out that just because cups are smaller, it won’t change the eating habits of a city. He added in jest, “it combines the draconian government overreach people love with the probable lack of results they expect!”
In theory, Bloomberg’s rationale behind the proposal makes a lot of sense. He explained, “I look across this country, and people are obese, and everybody wrings their hands, and nobody’s willing to do something about it. I would criticize the federal government for not doing anything. I would criticize the state governments for not doing anything, but in the end, it's the cities that do things.”
In a way, Bloomberg’s proposal to try to get New Yorkers healthier shouldn’t come as too much as a surprise since it is one in a long list of public health initiatives he has been in charge of promoting. To date, he has: banned smoking in public bars and eateries; banned artificial trans fats in foods being served in the public sphere; required calorie counts to be posted at fast-food outlets and has been head of a campaign to cut salt in packaged foods and restaurants. So clearly, Bloomberg as Mayor of New York is attempting to make his citizens healthier food and beverage choices in an attempt to attack the city’s obesity issue. Ultimately, Bloomberg believes obesity to be “the single biggest public health issue in the country.” And he’s trying to do something to battle it.
Coca-Cola and Pepsi Fight Back
But Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co. feel like it’s an attack on their businesses and are not prepared to take this lying down, although Bloomberg insisted it wasn’t, it was rather aimed at “target[ing] the consumer.” In a recent statement, Coca-Cola said, “New Yorkers expect and deserve better than this. They can make their own choices about beverages they purchase.” And NY State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was concerned that this move would lead New York to becoming “too close to Big Brother.” However, none of this has deterred Bloomberg who expects Democrat NY Governor Andrew Cuomo to support his plan.
Whatever happens, it does seem that Bloomberg is ultimately looking out for the best of health for New Yorkers.