Protecting us from ourselves?

New York City recently banned super-size soft drinks at restaurants (LA Times story). There are two ways to think about the law…

1. It violates our right to do whatever we want.

2. It is a great way to save all of us lots of money by preventing obesity-related health problems.

What is your take? Here’s a little poll. I’ll tell you what I think on Friday, September 21st. And please share your thoughts in the comments (link above, next to the title). Enlighten me and other readers!

[polldaddy poll=6537118]

As promised, I’m sharing my take on this. I feel that it is a good thing when any of us is prevented from doing harmful things, with a few exceptions. I’m not a fan of big and expensive government, but I am a fan of prevention of cruelty to humans. Buying a 64-ounce soft drink at a restaurant for consumption by one person is just not a smart thing to do.

Update: “Researchers say they have the strongest evidence yet that sugary drinks play a leading role and that eliminating them would, more than any other single step, make a huge difference.” Source.

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5 Replies to “Protecting us from ourselves?”

  1. There are too many ways around the law to make it useful for the purpose for which it was intended. I may only be allowed a 16-oz. drink in a restaurant with a self-serve machine, but I can refill it a dozen times. If I really need a lot of soda at the movies, I can buy several sodas. And, of course, the ban doesn’t extend to convenience stores where people can still get 44 ounces at a time or more.

  2. Why soft-drinks and other sweet drinks? Why not tootsie rolls and caramel corn, ice cream and chocolate cake?Our nation lived through the prohibition already. I know this isn’t a life-death issue but subtlely it is a freedom issue. SLowly take away choices which aren’t life-threatening and soon life choices will be taken away. After Dave and I returned to the states after our time in Uzbekistan we noticed the plethora of choices down the grocery aisles. In Tashkent if you wanted bread you had two choices: Uzbek or Russian (Naan or loaf), toothpaste — one brand, etc. Cub Foods overwhelmed me. At first I enjoyed the simplicity of no choice. But now I see the lack of creativity and economic sustainability. Educate and leave it to the consumer to choose.End of diatribe.

  3. Think of other products we restrict or have warnings on (ex., drugs are illegal and cigarette packs have Surgeon General warnings on them). I’m not saying sugared drinks are equivalent to cigs or drugs, but I am saying some warnings or restrictions could be appropriate. People in general (we) have proven ourselves time and again to be pretty stupid. Ex., where would we be today if seatbelt laws had not been passed? (For your younger readers, seatbelt wear used to be entirely optional.) I can see Tammie’s point that the law is somewhat ineffective as designed, but I’d like to let them try the law and see if it reduces the obesity problem after it’s been in place awhile. This sugared beverage discussion also reminds me of that documentary a couple of years ago about how all the children in Appalachia are losing their teeth from drinking Mt. Dew all the time. And the fact that sugared drinks and foods (ex., cereal) are heavily marketed to children, but every time laws are proposed to restrict that, the food lobby rises up and Congress defeats it, citing freedom concerns.

  4. And another thing.…(sorry paul, but you opened a door to a room I like to rant in!).…sometimes I think we U.S. citizens have abdicated a great deal of personal responsibility to the government. We (and I’m speaking to the mirror now) have become lazy and hand over to Big Daddy what we should be doing — reading labels, boycotting or supporting companies which are good/bad for the consumer, etc. If there are so many commercials geared to children promoting sugar cereals/drinks…change the channel or better yet…turn off the tv! But we (again, me!) have allowed TV and public schools and public health care and, and and…to be our babysitter. We, me, need to take back responsibility so we can make decisions for ourselves.

    1. Barb — agreed. We are lazy. And we need to take more responsibility. But I do think there’s a place for helping those who won’t or can’t help themselves. Example, if beer cost $1 for a 6-pack, a lot more people would be getting drunk. Or if cigarettes cost 25c and were not age-restricted, a lot more kids would be smoking.

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