This is interesting…
New York’s mayor Michael Bloomberg, otherwise known as Nanny Bloomberg, intends to impose a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sugary drinks. Calling for a sales restriction of sugary drinks to minors is common globally, however, the mayor’s plan applies to kids, adults and even businesses. That certainly raised a few eyebrows especially those who manufacture, sell, and consume them in large scale.
The Mayor has an ambitious plan to ban sugary drinks exceeding 500ml in restaurants, movie theatres and street carts. If the Bloomberg administration is successful, this ban will be effective by March 2013. The proposed ban would virtually change the whole menu of popular sugary drinks sold in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas. I could almost hear the groans of the soda lovers and merchants. Interestingly, the ban does not apply to grocery stores and convenience stores and I just wonder why they are excluded.
Why would Bloomberg’s administration want to implement this scheme? It is doubtful that the proposed ban will work as there are so many ways for both merchants and consumers to get around the ban. For instance, restaurant operators can offer glasses that hold less than 500ml of soda/sugary drink. Consumers who loves their Pepsi, 7-Up, Sprite or Fanta Grape just need to order a few more glasses. Furthermore, the ban does not affect convenience stores, die-hard soda lovers can simply drop in and pick up a few cartons.
Many governments have tried to curb alcohol and cigarette sales and consumption. Most achieved marginal success. It’s tough to kick a habit and people in general would choose to continue chumming on their chocolates, cakes and sodas rather than doing the right things by dieting, exercising and reducing their intake of their favourite snacks. If the mayor merely want to reduce consumption, he might get it but that’s about it. It is almost certain that he won’t get drop of obesity in the near future. Having that said, the mayor may just get his wish fulfilled if the ban stays long enough. If the ban is a long standing one that last 1 -2 decades, it will have an effect on the younger ones. When the younger generation grows up with the ban; and on top of that, having the health authorities, activists, schools and parents reiterating the negative effects of excessive sugar continuously, they might just consume less soda and sugary drinks. Monkey see, monkey do. If so, obesity may not be as big an issue in the next generation. Currently more than 50% of New Yorker are extra large.
Well, we’ll see in the next few months.