Seeking to combat rising obesity rates, the New York City Board of Health approved on Thursday a ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, street carts and movie theaters, enacting the first restriction of its kind in the country.
The measure, unless blocked by a judge, will take effect in six months. The health board vote was the only regulatory approval needed to become binding in the city, but the American soft-drink industry has strongly opposed the plan and vowed this week to try to fight the measure by other means, possibly in the courts.
The plan is a marquee initiative of the Bloomberg administration, which is known for introducing ambitious – and, some say, overreaching – public health policies, including a ban on smoking in bars and the posting of calorie counts on chain restaurant menus.
The soda measure would bar the sale of sweetened drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces, smaller than the size of a common soda bottle. It would affect a range of popular sweetened beverages, including energy drinks, presweetened iced teas and common brands of nondiet soda.