Are super-size drinks in danger of being outlawed? | News
Tampa, FL -- In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he wants to battle obesity and the health problems that come with it by getting rid of those mega-drink cups, and making 16 ounces. the largest serving cup allowable under the law.
It may sound intrusive, but critics say in an age of smoking bans and other public health initiatives aimed at curbing public health costs, it may not be that far out.
Still, even people who support the concept say such a law would have a tough time flying in Florida, where unlimited refills and self-serve soda machines are common.
The issue, says Bloomberg, is that all those super-sized, sugary sodas and drinks are making kids and adults too fat.
That in turn, he says, leads to expensive health issues like diabetes and heart disease.
So Bloomberg's idea is to limit beverage sizes at bars, restaurants, even movie theaters, to just 16 ounces for drinks that contain 25 calories or more per eight ounce serving.
It excludes milk and fruit juices.
Theron Moodie, a Tampa nutritionist, believes "It is a good start. At least he's trying."
But Moodie agrees the idea would be unlikely to work in Florida.
There's little arguing, he says, the health dangers of those behemoth beverages, and it has to be addressed early on.
"You can't wait until you're obese," he says, "This is something you have to start right now."
Even supporters of the idea concede it would be difficult to enforce a beverage law.
After all, what's to stop someone from taking the large cup promising to buy a diet beverage and then filling it with their favorite sugary drink? Or perhaps grabbing the smaller cup allowed under the law and going back for refill after refill?
"That's ridiculous," said Shawn Whittington, who works the counter at a South Tampa 7-11 store.
At his location, the Big Gulp gluttony that started the super-sized beverage trend is still the reason people stop in.
"What if you work outside? Do you have to have a little bitty cup? How many cups do you have to buy just to quench your thirst? Four or five? it's ridiculous," said Whittington.
For customers like Richard Phillips, it's actually less about the Big Gulp and more about Big Brother.
Phillips says "It's just the government going into where they don't belong."
The Tampa native also says he's lost 90 pounds this year even with the occasional Slurpee in his diet.
So he doesn't see the need for anyone telling him what to drink or how much of it.
"It's all in moderation. That's all you've got to do," said Phillips.
Still, while Bloomberg's idea might seem outlandish for Florida, other out-of-state initiatives, like banning smoking in public areas and eliminating sugary snacks in public schools, eventually made their way to the Sunshine State.
City leaders in New York plan to vote on the beverage proposal next month. If passed, violators will have a three month grace period to get on-board. After that, they could face a $200 fine per violation.