The Republican Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, has decided that although his political party stands strong on the philosophy of little regulation, it is time to ban sweetened drinks over 16 ounces in New York City. It appears that the Republican Party means they support little or no regulations on businesses, and total control over individuals and their ability to make their own choices.
This is his attempt to attack the ongoing issue of obesity in New York City. “Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, ‘Oh, this is terrible.’ New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something. I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do.”
If the ban is passed, it would affect sales in movie theatres, sporting events and delis, along with other venues that sell sweetened drinks larger than 16 ounces. The ban would not affect sales for diet sodas, fruit juices, milkshakes or drinks containing alcohol. It would also not extend to sales in grocery stores or convenience stores.
Stefan Friedman, spokesman for the New York City Beverage Association, said that the soda industry is being singled out unfairly, “The New York City health department’s unhealthy obsession with attacking soft drinks is again pushing them over the top. It’s time for serious health professionals to move on and seek solutions that are going to actually curb obesity. These zealous proposals just distract from the hard work that needs to be done on this front.”
The proposal by Bloomberg will require approval of the Board of Health. Bloomberg expects the proposal to pass, since he appointed all of the members of the board. Bloomberg proudly proclaims he has taken aggressive steps to improve the health of New York City’s residents- including smoking bans, prohibiting the use of artificial trans fat in restaurants and requiring health inspection grades to be posted on restaurant windows.
Opponents of these moves have called the major "Nanny Bloomberg" out of anger, insinuating he is babysitting them and telling them what to do- not leading them. They feel that the restrictions infringe on the individuals’ personal freedom. Frustrations continue to rise as more and more rules are put in place to limit the rights of individuals and their freedom to make their own choices.
Mayor Bloomberg says that the health concerns are a major priority for his office and he will continue to take the steps he feels will help improve the health of the people he was elected to represent. He accepts the criticism, but takes his responsibility seriously. The steps taken by Bloomberg have been mimicked in other cities in the U.S. to restrick trans fat and smoking.