Drink Up: How You Can Get Around NYC's Proposed Big Soda Ban


New York sugary drinksHere's some advice you don't hear every day: Next time you visit New York City, make sure to drink the water -- or, at least, limit your drinking to beverages with calorie counts approaching that of H2O. Otherwise, keep a sharp eye out for Johnny Law.

People get thirsty in summertime, especially while strolling the hot city streets. But in a new health-conscious initiative, NYC Mayor Bloomberg has proposed a law that could complicate your search to quench your thirst.

If passed, this law would ban the sale of sugary soft drinks in cups larger than 16 fluid ounces at movie theaters, sports stadiums, street carts, and restaurants.

Bloomberg's daughter Georgina enjoys a Diet Coke and popcorn at a Capitals game. Getty Images

Bitter Brouhaha

Already, the objections are flying. Civil libertarians naturally oppose the law on the grounds that adults should be allowed to make their own decisions. (Then again, this is New York, home of the $14.50 pack of cigarettes and the city where trans-fats are unwelcome.)

Other critics point out that the policy has some pretty gaping holes, inasmuch as it leaves untouched such high-calorie refreshments as juice, milkshakes, and alcohol.

Let's leave that last one alone, and just point out that 12 fluid ounces of orange juice contain 20% more calories than a can of Coke, while 12 ounces of milkshake pack twice the calories of soda.

Ways Around the Coke Tax

We could sit here all day and make fun of the law's flaws. Instead, in the spirit of helpfulness and civil disobedience, here are a few ways to get around it.

  • Count calories. The most obvious means of avoiding the calorie cops is to buy diet soda. Since this law will target sugar-full drinks, sugar-free ones should be fair game. (And three cheers for aspartame!)
  • Go bottomless. Bloomberg's ban has a per-item focus. There's no law that says you can't buy multiple 16 oz. drinks in a single transaction. And when picking a restaurant, give preference to establishments offering free refills.
  • BOGO. New Yorkers are a creative lot. It'll take about a New York minute for restaurateurs to decide that in a small-cup world, a buy one, get one free sales campaign will attract a lot of customers.

Chances are you've got some ideas of your own. Share them below. And here -- to give you a bit of an incentive -- have a glass of NYC water to sip on while you think.

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Liberalism gone wild.

August 10 2012 at 6:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Would the ban include the "makes 8 quarts" containers of Kool-aid or lemonade you make at home?
He would be better off controlling the per ounce costs of the drinks. Many people buy the large sizes because they are only a fraction of the cost more than regular sizes. Replace the sales tax with a per gallon tax on the establishment. Put a meter on all the dispensers. Problem solved.

June 11 2012 at 7:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to TOM's comment

What do the communists want to control next? He has NO right to tell us what to eat or drink!!!

June 11 2012 at 7:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does it say illegal to possess it or just buy it? Take your own refill cup in for a promotion that says
we will only charge for the first 16 ounces.
Why does Bloomberg support the hot dog eating contests in NYC each year? Shouldn't there also be a
ban on how many hot dogs you should be able to consume in a 24 hour period?

June 11 2012 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Most of those supersize drinks are sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup. Google the study from Princeton University about High Fructose Corn Syrup. Limiting the size will probably have more than caloric health benefits. Of course the soda companies are up in arms. Overall the average American diet is less than healthy. If someone doesn't care about the size and quality of food they are ingesting let a little darwinism (survival of the fittest) take place. The Peoples Republic of New York City can have all the regulations they want they don't affect the other 99% of the US.

June 11 2012 at 5:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here's a way around the law. Vote this imbecilic, moron out!!!

June 11 2012 at 2:48 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Leland Williams Jr.

Prohibition returns. If Bloomberg is really concerned about health, ban Alcohol too. But that would hurt the LIB DICTATORS more than Lenin's philosophy, which is the root of this stupid law.

June 11 2012 at 2:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The easiest way around this is to make stupidity and arrogance a feloney then Bloomburp would be in the can for life.

June 11 2012 at 11:54 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Anyone except an imbecile can see the futility of this nonsense. I think Mayor Blumberg is off his rocker if he or anyone else thinks they can impose restrictions on soft drink consumption. Although this may be well intentioned, the idea is beyond absurd. Yes, this country is in major trouble with health care costs. This isn't being helped since there is an epidemic with respect to obesity, diabetes and all the other problems assoicated with being over-weight. However, this idea of beverage restrictions actually working is beyond inane. What is next, restrictions on red meat, bacon, and ice cream consumption? You can't possible police this. IF we couldn't totally ban cigarette smoking or the consumption of alcohol in this country, how is this moronic idea supposed to work? I think someone needs to give the mayor a quarter and tell him to call his proctologist. The mayor needs to retrieve his head.

June 11 2012 at 10:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

So I won't be allowed to buy one large drink and share it with my date?

June 11 2012 at 7:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

he may have good intebtions but hes an idiot.id throw my drink in his face if he said i couldnt have my big ass drink. he needs to tend to more important things than harressing the people.

June 11 2012 at 12:35 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply