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Judge Stops New York City’s Ban on Sugary Drinks

Update Date: Mar 12, 2013 02:45 PM EDT

Right before New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg was going to celebrate the first day of his ban on sugary drinks sold in containers larger than 16 ounces, a judge halted the premature celebration by overturning the ban. Despite this ruling, Mayor Bloomberg is campaigning restaurants and other food establishments to adopt the ban even though they are no longer forced to do so. In the meantime, Mayor Bloomberg has stated that the city will appeal the ruling and hopes that the ban will eventually be placed.

If the ban were to be approved, restaurants, fast-food chains, delis, cafeterias, sport arenas, and movie theaters would have to place a 16-ounce size limit on sugary drinks. This means that pizza stores and bowling alleys known for hosting parties where a large drink is cheaper to share than buying individual drinks, would no longer be able to sell two-liters or pitchers of soda. A sugary drink is defined as a drink that contains 25 calories per eight fluid ounces resulting from sweeteners. However, the size limit ban would not have affected convenience stores and supermarkets because they are state-run establishments.

After this setback, Mayor Bloomberg admits that it is disappointing and will hinder his effects in fighting obesity, which is growing in the city. If large cup sizes are deemed normal, more and more children might reach for the larger options leading to several health complications arising from childhood obesity.

"If you know what you're doing is harmful to people's health, common sense says if you care, you might want to stop doing that," the Mayor stated. "Despite yesterday's temporary setback, I don't think there's any doubt that momentum is moving in our direction."

Some diners and restaurants have voluntarily placed a ban on selling sugary drinks in cups over 16 ounces. Bloomberg recently visited a Manhattan diner that chose to stop selling 20-ounce soda bottles and saved the 24-ounce to-go cups only for iced coffee.

Mayor Bloomberg has been known to be an advocate for several other campaigns looking to improve quality of life. He was responsible for banning smoking in restaurants and offices. He has also encouraged breastfeeding over formula and recently became involved with a campaign to spread awareness of possible hearing loss from headphones.

Despite the Mayor's good intentions in promoting a healthier lifestyle, the State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling who struck down the ban stated that there were just too many loopholes in the ban. People who would no longer be able to get a two-liter from the pizza store can still pick it up from the drugstore down the block. For now, the judge's ruling stands and businesses can breathe a little bit better in the meantime. 

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