Mayor makes final push for soda ban proposal
With the Health Department expected to pass the supersized-soda ban next week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been making a final push to sell New Yorkers on his health initiative.
The mayor reiterated Tuesday, that he's not looking to take away choice from consumers by prohibiting the sale of sugary drinks greater than 16 ounces from restaurants and most stores.
Speaking at a Parks Department gym in Queens, Bloomberg said something needs to be done because more people in the world are dying of obesity-related diseases than starvation.
"This is the first time a rich person's disease has become a poor person's disease," he said.
If the Dept. of Health OKs the ban as it is expected to on Sept. 13, it will take effect in March.
The mayor announced Tuesday that Arthur Agatston, creator of the South Beach Diet; Dana Fiser the CEO of Jenny Craig; and Dave Burwick, the president of Weight Watchers, all backed the plan.
"We hope that more mayors and other health departments follow New York City's example to promote a healthy environment," Burwick said.
Opponents, however, say that the ban -- which 54% of New Yorkers oppose according to a Quinnipiac poll last month -- is too prohibitive.
Eliot Hoff, a spokesman for New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, a coalition of soda companies and restaurants, said the focus instead should be on educating consumers about obesity.
"These diet companies often emphasize choice and options in their own plans, allowing their customers a wide variety of food and drink. We want the same thing," he said in a statement.