Regardless of where you stand in the debate over whether Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on large soft drinks in New York City is within his or any local government’s jurisdiction, there’s no doubt the proposal has driven conversations connecting soft drinks to obesity and poor health. And in that sense, it can already be counted as a PR success.
On May 30, Bloomberg introduced his proposal to amend New York City’s health code to prevent vendors in the city from selling soft drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces. The ban would apply to restaurants, street-side food carts, delis, movie theaters, sports stadiums and arenas, but not convenience, grocery or drug stores, where such drinks are mostly sold in bottles and cans.
On May 31, two prominent providers of soft drinks, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, hit back at the mayor’s proposal. “New Yorkers expect and deserve better than this. They can make their own choices about the beverages they purchase,” said Coca-Cola in a statement. “Public health issues cannot be effectively addressed through a narrowly focused and misguided ban,” said McDonald’s in a statement.
It’s no surprise that these companies would be against such a ban and release strong statements saying as much. But that’s beside the point. If Bloomberg’s goal was to raise awareness of the connection between soft drinks and obesity, then he has hit his mark, whether or not the ban goes into effect.
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