Monday, September 10, 2012

How Sweet it is !!!


Those of us who live in NYC or at least visit regularly will have soon to face the new proposed restrictions on the size of sugary drinks that one can order at city regulated food establishments. If you are used to having a 32 oz soda with your pizza pie or a 54 oz container of non diet soda with your hamburger then you have to find a different way to get your fix. Nothing larger than 12 ounces from here on. Do you know that the 54 ounce "cup" is almost 2 liters. I can still remember when the Pepsi and Cola bottles used to be only 6 ounces and no one complained.

Is mayor Bloomberg making the NYC government into a nanny state? Does he have the right to do so or should the citizens take the matter into their own hands and refuse to abide by these regulations? This is not a simple question with an easy answer. Did the state have the right to tax cigarettes and pass motorcycle helmet laws? If you answered yes then why not tax sugary drinks? They are just as harmful and some would suggest even more harmful to the national health than the bicycle helmet laws. If the state does not have the right to prevent us from "killing" ourselves slowly but surely through obesity then does it have the right to mandate recycling? What about mandating levels of emissions and protecting forests and rivers forexample.

Watch the following short video clip that was prepared by NBC:

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2012/09/09/opinion/100000001768095/soda-ban-explained.html

25 comments:

Celine Hamel said...

I agree with enlightening people on the health concerns of sugary drinks, and I also agree that obesity is a serious and disgusting problem that not just New York City, but all of America faces. However, this particular law has so many loopholes that I'm not sure it will be that efffective, and it will surely have negative impacts on the environment. If people start buying two or three cups of soda to make up for a large, that doubles or maybe even triples the waste being created by drink containers. Also, if places like the movie theatre and seven eleven aren't even affcted by this law, more people will go there and the businesses regulated by New York City will start to lose money. People will continue to drink large sugary beverages and develop health complications like diabetes until they compeltely erradicated, but that is a very slippery slope. Clearly this is a very complicated issue,and the first step is the educate people on the harm they are causing themselves by consuming such large sweetened drinks, if that is the aim of this law then yes, I agree with it.

Maria Costa said...

We all know that America, and most of the Western world, is suffering from an obesity epidemic. There are several causes for this, one of which is the increased drinking of sugary beverages like soda. With this in mind, I understand what Mayor Bloomberg's goal is through this ban. If you simply take away an option, though, that does not mean people will not buy more of several small drinks, and thus pollute more. In addition, dictating what people should and should not eat or drink is not solving the problem at hand. It is like telling a five year old he or she cannot do something but leaving off the explanation as to why. The child has absolutely no motivation to follow the rules except that it may be in his best interest not to get in trouble. In the same way, people need to be educated first as to why such sugary drinks are contributing to the poor health conditions within the country, and the motivation to stop drinking these beverages needs to come from within. Granted, this is a really difficult thing to do, but that's really the only lasting way to promote change.

I think that this ban does overstep some political boundaries as well because a government is assuming it knows better the interests of its citizens and does not trust the citizens to make these decisions for themselves. This is a fairly dangerous assumption to make because it begs the question of whether lifestyle choices are private or somehow part of the government's responsibility.

The difference between taxing cigarettes and restricting soda consumption is this: soda consumption is a private choice that affects only the individual consuming the beverage. If one is a smoker, your habit actually is detrimental to those around you who are nonsmokers, and they should not have to suffer because of a lifestyle choice you make. The decision to smoke does not just affect the smoker; it hangs in the cloud of smoke which people breathe in and are affected by every time they walk past this person.

All in all, I think this law is derived from a great goal - the promotion of the health and well-being of New Yorkers. But it is pretty ridiculous because it does not motivate the individual citizens to care about their health, and it also blurs the lines between public and private choices. It will wind up costing people more, and the increased litter will also be detrimental to the environment.

Nick Sollogub said...

There is no doubt that America has a population that has a growing number of people with obesity and diabetes. With this in mind I do not believe that this law is a just one. It is a slippery slope allowing government to chose what they feel is good for you or what you should be doing. What comes next, outlaw fast-food, alcohol, everything that is not organic vegetables, "because fruits are high in sugar, so we can not allow people to eat fruit either"? Where does it end? While it is not healthy to drink sugary beverages in mass quantities, I do not think they should have the right to stop you. Besides the fact that the people who still want to drink large amounts are still going to find a way to do that, be it by stores that are permitted to sell them, or by buying multiple smaller bottles. With the multiple bottles that are being consumed that multiplies the amount of trash that is now output by our already overpopulated, high trash producing country.

Kassandra Martinez said...

I honestly believe that Mayor Bloomberg isn't even thinking clearly of what he is trying to do in proposing such a ban that reduces sugary beverages. He believes that this will hopefully reduce the rate of obesity but did he forget that when people like to eat and drink they will find there ways to get what they WANT not what they NEED, as to what he is trying to point out.
Mayor Bloomberg isn't seen the other effect that will be cause by this action, which is increasing the amount of waste. Yes the cups might be smaller but that will give the people more reason to want more and throw away more. He might be wanting to reduce the rate of obesity but he is also affecting both the environment and the economy in a variety of ways.

Davin Ajodhasingh said...

Since America has been suffering from rising rates of obesity and diabetes, I see this initiative as a start but i do believe that in the long run it will do more harm than good. If consumers want more than 12 ounces, obviously they would buy more, perhaps in bulk since soda is already cheap. Its not like their is a tax on soda. Taxing cigarettes is different since smoking affects non-smokers through passive smoking and causes littering. Motorcycle helmet laws is the equivalent to wearing a seatbelt so i can't see how people can argue against it. With more bottles and cans of soda mostly likely being sold. It would cause more of an environmental problem with more plastic and aluminum being used, (and cardboard if buying in bulk)therefore, the greater potential of more litter. Choosing what size and how much soda to buy/drink is a personal choice and while the mayor is trying to make the state more health conscious, it will have detrimental effects on the environment in the future. If the mayor is so concerned about obesity/diabetes then why isn't there a limit on how many fastfood joints their are per sq. mile? Do we really need an outlet on every corner, selling the same sodas, burgers and fries instead of healthier options?

Thomas Midolo said...

Mayor Bloomberg seems to be focusing on an issue that cannot be enforced nor will it accomplish anything. If a person normally drinks a 24 ounce beverage and they reduce the amount of liquid to a 12 oz beverage, the person will just buy two beverages. I feel like this law is petty and he should be focusing on larger issues. There is really no true, fullproof way to control obesity. People just need to be educated and advised on how to eat/drink to stay healthy. Taxing these large beverages more heavily may slow down the consumption of these sugary drinks. However, it will not solve the problem at all because people will always find a way to get their fill and disregard warnings if necessary. Mandating recycling and emission limitations is a larger scale mandate that regulating sugary drinks. This is because most of the people or institutions that dont recycle or exceed emission limitations are large and can be monitored. If a person buys 3 sugary drinks, one cannot really force them not too. Its all about being informed and using proper judgement to remain healthy.

Donte Kirby said...

I don't think I have ever cared less about an issue. The "slippery Slope" theory is a legitimate concern but the government has already banned things before. When the law doesn't work out or the people get riled up enough by it the law is repealed or amended. The paradigm shift that would be needed to truly defeat obesity would be hugely beneficial to sustainability because that would require the end of excess consumption.That paradigm shift would be asking a lot of a capitalist society where nearly every individual strives to reach the point where we can wallow in the excess.

Megan Foballe said...

I believe that the way to determine whether or not these “nanny laws” should be passed is to evaluate who is affected by each behavior. If the impact of these actions is limited solely to the actor participating in these behaviors, then by engaging in acts such as not wearing a motorcycle helmet or drinking sugary beverages one is only harming their own self and health. However, we must be prepared to pay the costs such as purchasing additional space on an airplane because of the amount of girth being carried aboard. On the contrary, laws that limit levels of emissions and cigarettes are laws that benefit the population as a whole and protects its health.

I am wholeheartedly supportive of personal freedoms, albeit ones that do not harm those around us. However, there need to be more restrictions on activities that truly do affect others. In the U.S., the fact that nearly every citizen drives a car which produces negative affects that are not only felt in the local sphere, but also impact EVERY single person on this planet as well.

These behaviors need to be limited to the level where we stop focusing on trivial issues such as sugared drinks but more so the consumption of resources and energy which deprives the rest of the world of their fare share as well as our future generations. We as a society are so incredibly narrow-visioned and need to start looking at our global impact.

Jessica Y. Sanchez said...

Many people find this law ridiculous and government shouldn't make decisions regarding your health decisions, but I personally think it's great. We have seen the rate of obesity sky rocket in the last couple of years and frankly it makes me sick. Have you looked around and really take notice to the amount of overweight kids. Children are learning eating habits as they grow up. Their views of what a normal portion is distorted. In essence it’s sending them a message that 64oz soda’s or any drink of that size in one sitting is normal. So I say, good job Bloomberg!

Olivia Hu said...

In a time when 33% of adults in the U.S. is obese, the government needs to step in and act upon it. There are people in the media like Paula Deen who encourage others to continue ridiculously unhealthy eating habits, and shed absolutely no light as to how those types of foods will affect the audience in the long run.

The only soda I ever drink is ginger ale, and that's few and far between. I like water. Personally, the fact that people are outraged about their right to purchase an oversized soda is disgusting. Soda is essentially sugar water, syrup, chemicals, and dyes. No one needs soda to live, and that should go without saying. Yet, there are many people who can't eat a meal, exercise, or virtually anything without accompanying it with drinking soda. It appalls me.

That said, Bloomberg isn't crossing a line passing a law like the soda ban. The video clip in the blog post was illuminating as far as a few details, like excluding coffee and beverages that are more than 50% milk. This soda ban doesn't seem to be as dramatic as everyone is making it out to be. Also, I'm not sure that I believe that people will just buy two sodas to make up for their lack of ability to buy one gigantic soda. People care about their money, and when they're reminded of having to spend more for the same product, most will find a way to get what they want. Multiple people have already pointed out that anyone can just cross the street to a grocery store and get a large soda, but as Bloomberg said, it's meant to be a reminder to be more health-conscious with diet.

Jaclyn Barbato said...

I do not believe that the new soda ban is truly a big deal, because it is not restricting anyones rights, but instead forcing them to pay more for something that is bad for them. However, I do not believe it will be effective at battling obesity. Sugary drinks are obviously not the only substance that causes obesity and because the restrictions on them are so 'loose' they technically can not stop someone from consuming the same amount of soda that they would've consumed before they were in place.
That being said, Bloomberg is not crossing any lines. To mandate recycling and levels of emissions would've actually been a better and more effective move however, because it would be a step torwards tackling issues that are global.

Craig Mayle said...

The comparisons between this law and the protections of forests and rivers is completely invalid. I face little direct impact on my life if a person chooses to consume 32 oz. of soda in one sitting, but if the air I breathe or the water that I drink is contaminated due to a lack of regulations, then, obviously, regulating pollution in these areas would directly benefit me.

An abstract argument about soda's correlation to obesity, and obesity's burden on healthcare costs adversely effecting me, but that is a question of an effect on my financial health, not my general health.

I find it appalling that the government chooses to spend its time and resources on pushing through this kind of regulation when we all know that the exhaust fumes that are in the air that we breathe are detrimental to our long term health. And with many New Yorkers using mass transit and bikes, they aren't contributing much to this problem, but are victims of it nonetheless. Bloomberg needs to figure out these kinds of problems before worrying about how much soda can be put in a cup.

Alfredo Dumalsen said...

Taxing cigarettes, passing a motorcycle helmet law, and potentially mandating sugary drinks all contribute to helping people make healthier decisions. Despite their common denominator, they are all very much different. In terms of pricing, cigarettes only affect those who smoke and the fine of not wearing a helmet is applicable to those who own a motorcycle; however, sugary drinks encompasses a vast demographic much larger than the two.

The video demonstrates the feckless attempt Bloomberg has on trying to fight obesity by eliminating sugary drinks over 16oz. It’s evident if this transpires, there are other establishments that cater to people wanting that sugary, 32oz beverage. Alluding to the video, the consumer can add their own sugar into their drinks or purchase several drinks at once, thereby making this law somewhat useless. Prohibiting certain actions or taxing certain products does not take away our freedom to choose nor does it effectively educate people on the underlying issues, which in this case is obesity. Also, if he truly is trying to fight obesity, then he has completely turned a blind eye towards the other factors that contribute to obesity such as exercise and diet. Although there is some merit behind Bloomberg’s rationale for mandating sugary drinks, this will not inspire people to change their unhealthy habits.

Jeffrey Prizzia said...

Mayor Bloomberg is making a right decision in setting a law against sugary drinks. This country is known for our obesity and amounts of sugar and calories we intake in our daily lives. I feel that with this law in place maybe people will begin to realize what wrong they have been doing all these years and start to take more precaution on what they put into their mouths and there health in general. On that note we must start putting other laws into effect to help us and our environment that we live in. The government must enforce more laws on recycling and cutting down on spending that keeps enlarging our economy along with raising our chances of experiencing dramatic changes in our earth. In essences if the government is changing looking out for our health then they need to look at it from many different perspectives and angles, so they can improve our lives with much larger positive outcomes then just something like reducing the amount of sugary drinks we intake. Once our government starts making changes and society starts to see that it is only for their own good maybe other laws and ideas will be looked at in a more positive way.

Gisselle Rodriguez said...

I think this is a step in the right direction. For the most part people are going to order what is most convenient for them. I feel that one of the main reasons that Americans drink soda and eat so much fast food is because it is much cheaper than eating better quality foods. Other countries such as Australia have already taken the initiative to over price foods that are bad for your health and also restaurants serve smaller portions. The undeniable fact is that the leading cause of death in America is caused by cardiovascular disorders because of obesity. This will definitely get the community thinking.

Brionne said...

I personally feel Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to implement this sugary drink ban will not curb the obesity weight at all. For example, if you’re at McDonald’s, you can easily order a 12oz value soft drink and have unlimited refills; limiting the size of the container does little to limit the consumptive habits of the individual. Although I see the need for consuming so much sugary beverages, I believe the consumer should have the choice in the size of whatever beverage they wish.

On a similar note, I was discussing the topic of smoking bans in public, whether or not they have gone too far or not. I have read articles where some states have considered banning smoking in cars and even apartment building. While I understand the dangers of second hand smoking, I don’t see why individuals shouldn’t be able to smoke in their homes and cars. Furthermore, I do not agree that smoking should be banned in parks or on streets because they are not enclosed spaces; the chances of contracting second hand smoke and lessened greatly than if say in a closed-in restaurant.

In my opinion, I don’t think the government/state should be trying to protect us from endangering ourselves. We should be allowed to freely consume whatever sized beverage we chose, smoke where and how much we want, and if we chose to, ride down the freeway on a motorcycle without a helmet. However, the care due to consequences of your actions, i.e.: deteriorating health should not be placed on the state.

However, in matters of protecting the environment, I think it’s the government’s duty to nature, to protect its rights to life and continuation of that life. Therefore, if mandating recycling, reducing emission levels, and protecting and preserving forests is required, then the state should do everything in its power to ensure the safety and survival of nature. In the end, if we depend on nature for our survival, and it is becoming increasingly more common that nature depends (somewhat) on us as well.

Camille Rousseau said...

I do think the government has not only the right, but the RESPONSIBILITY to regulate substances that are making people unhealthy. It is the government's responsibility to protect the population from harm, which includes the marketing that brainwashes people into causing harm to their bodies. Not only are these substances harmful to the individual, but they are harmful to society because when people are unhealthy they are a burden on everyone else. Being unhealthy makes it more difficult to be a productive member of society and makes the individual more likely to require government aid. There can not be a discussion on universal health care without taking these issues into account.

On the other hand I believe the Bloomberg administration is taking short cuts in combating an extremely complex issue. Education has the largest impact on what people eat. If Bloomberg really wanted to attack the obesity epidemic, he would be much more concerned with the failing public school system of New York City. He would be installing some sort of city wide food education and making sure pizza sauce was not a substitution in school lunches. Instead, the administration has pushed a bill which will have little to no effect on people's eating habits. While it is a good idea in theory, the loop holes really make it another piece of useless legislation.

In this way, the bill seems to target the obesity problem, but really is a short sighted solution for Bloomberg to use to boost his image. People may be outraged right now, but they will get over it pretty quickly and Bloomberg will be able to use it as proof that he made NYC more healthy.

This type of propaganda policy seems to be trending in regards to environmental issues as well. Many politicians want to claim they are helping the environment, but the policies the create seem like an afterthought and not a priority. An example of this may be legislation that aims at cutting carbon emissions with out creating the infrastructure, such as more public transportation, which would actually mold a more energy efficient culture.

Laura Sorrentino said...

Although I found that short video to be quite comical, it was simply showing the truth. Bloomberg is a prime example of a leader doing absolutly nothing other than pretending to do something! This law I suppose has good intentions, but at the same time can not take credit for trying to fight obesity. This law will in no way inform citizens about the danger of obesity especially if other industries across the street are advertising their oversized and overly unhealthy beverages in their store. Making it seem like the state is taking away our right to drink what we want will only make people want to fight against them more. Just because we have the choice to drink the 32oz and 54oz drinks does not mean we have to drink them, but people will beause we are not fighting this issue from the right side, clearly. Smoking is a great example, as the state taxes cigarettes enormously because of their fatal health issues, people are still willing to pay whatever it takes to get their dose of it. Sugary drinks are the same, as people will pay more to fulfill their cravings. I believe that Bloomberg has the right to 'take the matter into his own hands', yet i do not believe that will make even a dent of a difference. We can not continue to blame these products for our obesity when the real underlying issue is ourselves. As a country, we are not informed about healthy eating and adequate excercise enough, therefore people will just buy two smaller drinks rather than one big one because no knowledgable lesson will be gained from this law or any of its type. It is very upsetting to know that the government will pour money into laws that make no difference. The government knows people will continue to spend a lot of money on these sugary drinks and their motive, in my opinion is to promote these products more using this law because greed and capitalism has taken over completely. Perhaps a law that would actually make a difference, like mandating recycling would do some good, although it is clear the government is not concerned about our environment, the only thing green they're concerned about is money.

Leeann Moreau said...

I can see the argument from both sides of the perspective, but I agree more with Bloomberg’s decision. There are age restrictions on cigarettes and alcohol because they take a physical tole on our bodies. That being said, smokers and alcohol drinkers can technically smoke and drink themselves to death, and while some do, most have the willpower to use these substances in moderation. Cola can rot your teeth and melt rust off metal but it is completely legal for children to consume it. I’m not saying that soda should be illegal, but the fact that regulations are being put in place making substances that are bad for you more expensive isn’t something we should be protesting.

I don’t think this bill is out of line, and the fact that people are getting upset about it is incredibly annoying. All the adds protesting Bloomberg’s plan about how the government has no right to restrict how much soda you drink is offensive, especially when there are so many other things worth fighting for and so many other people who have it ten times worse? Why don’t they protest something that matters? You can still buy two liters of soda in a bottle and if the issue is that people just don’t want to look ridiculous. If you can’t afford to buy a Big Gulp’s worth of soda out of the cup, then maybe chose water, which is free.

zachary roberts said...

In my opinion i completley agree on the mayor's proprosal to ban drinks of a certain size, for several reasons. For one, it causes those who want larger amounts of soda to jump throw hopes to get it. This bill basically makes the epidemic of obsiety public and shows us what were actually drinking. In addition, the ban helps us as a society. When obese people get older its the tax payers that have to pay for their medical bills. In addition when the obese people are unable to work anymore, it is the tax payers that pay for the early social secruity. In conclusion, this bill is a great step in the right direction to a better society.

Emily Armstrong said...

I think that by putting regulations on the size soda you can buy isn't going to be very successful in reducing the health risks that are associated with them. Yes it's true that this effort might motivate "some" people to take notice of the beverages they are putting into their bodies, but most people will just buy two sodas or go to a store such as seven eleven where the soda size isn't restricted. Who knows, maybe people will start walking around with two liter bottles in their hands.

The point is people need to realzie that the government is doing this for a reason. I do not think the Mayor is making NYC into a nanny state. I believe that he is trying to help, but his efforts aren't strong enough. People are not going to stop buying their large sugary drinks until they are completely taken off the market. Maybe instead, they could have companies reduce the amount of sugary beverages that are allowed in one store.

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