The nanny is right on the NY City soda ban
The Kansas City Star
News that the New York City Board of Health has cleared the way for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on oversized sodas to take effect is being described in many quarters as the nanny state at its most oppressive.
Yes, well, any good nanny would surely dissuade his or her charges from gulping 16-plus ounces of sugary soda pop. But, seriously, is the New York City policy all that overbearing? I think not.
Nobody is telling folks they can’t drink sodas. They can drink all they want, in fact, if they desire to purchase multiple containers of 16 ounces or less.
And speaking of choice, what about the consumer who wants to purchase an 8-ounce soda? That disappeared years ago, with the industry making the call. It’s pretty hard to even find a 12-ounce soda anymore. Vendors figured out that people would pay extra for “supersized” if it was offered, so big became bigger and small just about vanished.
What Bloomberg is banning is bucket-sized containers of soda pop that offer no nutritional benefit and are a leading player in America’s obesity epidemic. The public ends up paying much of the cost for chronic diseases like diabetes, so it is very much with the purview of public policy to seek ways to cut down on consumption.
The soft drink industry is of course horrified by Bloomberg’s ban, and worried that it might spread elsewhere. I suspect beverage producers and distributors will survive, as will consumers. Perhaps we’ll see the return of the 8-ounce cola.