State court considers restoring NYC big-soda ban

June 4, 2014 by Michael Virtanen

New York City officials urged the state's top court on Wednesday to reinstate the city's ban on big sodas, arguing that the local Board of Health has authority to restrict products that make people obese and contribute to disease.

The 2012 ban against peddling sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces (473 milliliters) at restaurants, delis, movie theaters, stadiums and street carts was overturned by the lower courts the same month the ban was to take effect. It was pushed by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and since backed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

"The largest source of added sugar in the American diet, 40 percent of added sugar comes from sugary drinks," Assistant Corporation Counsel Richard Dearing said. "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."

Several judges on the Court of Appeals questioned where the board would draw the line.

Judge Eugene Piggott Jr. asked whether triple-decker burgers would be next. Judge Victoria Graffeo questioned the limit in light of exclusions like mixed coffee drinks loaded with more than 800 calories.

The board's decision was reasonable, not arbitrary, based on science, Dearing said. He added that it isn't actually a ban, only a limit on cup size.

Restaurants, theater owners, beverage companies and small stores sued to block the restrictions. The Court of Appeals is not expected to rule on the board's request until next month.

Richard Bress, an attorney for the plaintiffs, argued Wednesday that the Board of Health lacks authority for such a policy decision and would need the City Council to first authorize it. Many council members had opposed it.

"What we didn't have was the will of the people," Bress said. "It was a first step to going over the line to tell us what portion size we can have."

According to the American Beverage Association, New York City is the only jurisdiction attempting such a restriction, though several others around the country have tried and failed to impose special taxes on sugary drinks.

"We look forward to a final resolution of this issue, as the soda ban would have a negative impact on businesses throughout the city," spokesman Chris Gindlesperger said.

New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, recently appointed by de Blasio, said the link between the beverages and obesity isn't in question.

"What we do need to question is the beverage industry's continued promotion of these unhealthy products in communities most burdened by obesity and diabetes," she said. "The rule capping at 16 ounces is a necessary and important step toward improving the health of New Yorkers regardless of their zip code."

Explore further: Top NY court will review Bloomberg's big-soda ban

Related Stories

Top NY court will review Bloomberg's big-soda ban

October 17, 2013
The state's highest court has agreed to hear New York City's appeal of a ruling that blocked Mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to stop many eateries from selling super-sized, sugary drinks.

NYC to state top court: Review big-soda ban ruling

August 5, 2013
(AP)—New York City is asking the state's highest court to take up the city's effort to stop many eateries from selling super-sized, sugary drinks.

NYC appeals ruling striking down soda size limit

March 28, 2013
(AP)—New York City is asking appeals judges to reinstate a ban on supersized sodas and other sugary drinks.

Court hears arguments on NYC's big soda ban

June 11, 2013
A state appeals court is considering whether to allow New York City to ban oversized sodas and other large sugary drinks at city restaurants as part of its war on diabetes and obesity.

Appeals court: NYC's big-soda ban unconstitutional (Update)

July 30, 2013
New York City's crackdown on big, sugary sodas is staying on hold. New York's effort to cap soda portions has drawn national attention, including from diet companies lauding it as a groundbreaking step in America's war on ...

Industry sues over NYC crackdown on sugary drinks

October 12, 2012
(AP)—Soft drink makers, restaurateurs and other businesses are suing to block New York City's move to end the sale of super-sized, sugary drinks in many eateries.

Recommended for you

Women run faster after taking newly developed supplement, study finds

January 19, 2018
A new study found that women who took a specially prepared blend of minerals and nutrients for a month saw their 3-mile run times drop by almost a minute.

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.