Boston Mayor Bans Soda

by updated 2011/04/10

Perhaps the Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts has read this post on how to stop drinking soda? Or maybe this one on more reasons to stop drinking soda pop? Or maybe not. He probably is just finally catching up to all the research showing that, after stopping smoking, the number one thing you can do to improve your health is to stop drinking soda. I bring up the Mayor of Boston because he has decided to ban the sale of soda, sports drinks, and even sweetened iced teas on all city property. You can read the full press release at that link, but his simple summary of the decision is this:

“Now is the time to expand our efforts that began in our public schools and set an example for the city as a whole.” I want to create a civic environment that makes the healthier choice the easier choice in people’s lives, whether it’s schools, work-sites, or other places in the community.”

Since 2004, Boston has banned the sale of soda and junk food in vending machines at all Boston Public Schools. Other cities have followed suit, saying they are trying to provide healthier choices for children. It was probably somewhat hypocritical banning sales at schools, while allowing sales to continue at other city-owned buildings and properties.

It is easy to understand the reasoning behind this decision since soda and other sugar and high fructose corn syrup drinks make up more than 10% of the calories consumed by U.S. residents. If you consider people like me, (not so huge a minority anymore), that drink no soda or sweetened beverages, than calorie consumption is much higher. It is not too hard to believe that average calorie consumption of soda drinkers is more like 20 to 30% of their total calories.

It will be interesting to watch the news and blogs discussing the Boston decision. Here in the U.S. the ability to make choices on our own, no matter how bad those choices may be, is a cherished tradition. I suspect there will be quite an outcry from a vocal minority who see this as just more big government deciding what is good for us. I don’t see it that way at all though. It is not as though sales are banned in private businesses and stores. Bostonians are not being told they can’t drink soda at home. All that is happening is that Boston is saying we, the city will no longer be selling soda on city owned property. Still be prepared for the backlash. I expect the most vocal opponents of everything governmental will latch on to this one for all it’s worth.

Please tell us what you think in a comment or by taking this poll:

Should sales of soda be banned in government buildings?

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Will Sig
1 Binky

Some places have also banned the sale of bottled water, which I can understand from the environmental point of view, but health-wise water is certainly a lot better choice than soda. Bottling water and shipping it thousands of miles is rather dumb, but by making it convenient many people will choose it over much worse choices.
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2 Tony McGurk

I also don’t get paying for bottled water when it’s free from a tap. But like Binky said, I guess if it gets more people into the habit of drinking water more rather than soft drink it’s a good thing.

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3 Tony

I also don’t get paying for bottled water when it’s free from a tap. But like Binky said, I guess if it gets more people into the habit of drinking water more rather than soft drink it’s a good thing.
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4 Hillary

I think it is a good idea but when does the line get drawn with not allowing people the choices they want.
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