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Michael Bloomberg praises soda ban

New York City’s Board of Health has taken the advice of Mayor Micheal Bloomberg, voting in favor of a ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces.

Beginning March 12, New York City will prohibit restaurants, mobile food carts, delis and concessions at movie theaters, stadiums or arenas from selling the large-sized soda.  The limits will not apply to drinks sold in grocery stores, diet sodas, drinks that are more than 70-percent fruit juice, or that contain alcohol.

The New York City’s Board of Health voted in favor of the proposal on Thursday, passing the measure by an 8 to 0 vote. Speaking Thursday, Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley said he expects city residents will ultimately support the ban.

“Today’s vote is a historic and important step in fighting New York City’s epidemics of obesity and diabetes. It continues the long tradition of this Board of Health leading the charge against major health problems of the day,” said Farley. “It is my hope that in the future we will see today as a turning point in epidemics that each year claims the lives of thousands of New Yorkers.”

In a statement released late Thursday, Mr. Bloomberg praised the board of health, saying the vote in favor of the ban is a step towards fighting the costs of obesity.

“This is the biggest step a city has taken to curb obesity,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Simply by proposing limits on sugary drinks, New York City pushed the issue of obesity – and the impact of sugary beverages – onto the national stage. The Board of Health’s passing this proposal means that New Yorkers will soon consume fewer junk calories and eventually begin turning the tide of the obesity epidemic that is destroying the health of far too many of our citizens. I raise a 16 ounce cup and toast Barclays for joining us today and implementing this plan 6 months ahead of schedule.  This is a game-changing vote and the new Barclays Center is on the winning side.”

The proposal, which Mayor Bloomberg announced earlier this year, has been met with skepticism. The mayor has faced both criticism and ridicule in recent years, with opponents saying a string of proposal put forth by City Hall has left New Yorkers with fewer options. Two years ago, Mr. Bloomberg put forth an initiative that banned the use of trans-fats in restaurants in the city. Earlier this year, Mr. Bloomberg proposed hospitals lock up baby formula as part of an effort to urge mothers to breastfeed.