Taking a cue from New York City’s proposed ban on sugary drinks, Cambridge, Massachusetts, is looking to pass a similar crackdown to combat obesity and diabetes.
Residents of Cambridge may have to sacrifice larger portions of soft drinks in its battle of the bulge, nearly a month after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made national headlines with his own proposal.
Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis submitted the proposal at a city council meeting on Monday night.
The size limit on the drinks was not mentioned in her resolution, but it’s expected to follow Bloomberg’s limit of 16 ounces.
Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis told WHDH: “When people are served these gigantic portions of soda in bottomless cups, sometimes it’s just more than people are able to resist.”
Also like Michael Bloomberg’s resolution, the Davis’ measure has ignited a heated discussion.
Axis Sivitz, 25, of Cambridge, told The Boston Globe that he supports the ban, saying: “When faced with a health crisis, you have to do something about it.”
Sophia Talamasm, 29, told the paper she is against Henrietta Davis’ proposal.
She said: “Sometimes you need a soda.”
Cambridge is home to Harvard University, where Michael Bloomberg got his MBA degree.
New York City opened the issue for public debate after Michael Bloomberg pitched the crackdown to the city council late last month.
While Michael Bloomberg has faced uproar in New York over the ban, polls show that New Yorkers are mostly split on the issue.
The city Board of Health, which is appointed by the mayor, is expected to approve the measure after a three-month comment period.
It could take effect as early as March, unless the critics who accuse Michael Bloomberg of instituting a “nanny state” can get the courts or state lawmakers to intervene.
Last week, the legality of such a crackdown was called into question.
It’s not just businesses and industry groups that could sue. In theory, any individual affected by the ban could bring a legal challenge.
But it wouldn’t be enough to simply claim that the ban infringes on personal freedom, said Rick Hills, a New York University law professor specializing in local government law and New York City.
And Rick Hills said that opponents would have to do more than argue that the law affects one source of sugar more than others.
Courts, he said, have repeatedly ruled that the government can try to eradicate societal ills one step at a time.