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Thoughts on the New York Soft-Drink Ban

By Eamonn Morris in Opinion & Politics

New York City recently instituted a ban on soft drinks over 16 fluid ounces within city limits. The decision is entering a court battle this week, and the fire continues to rage over the decision.

I see two big issues with this ban. The first is the infringement on personal choice, which is both trivial and unprecedented. I personally don’t see the problem with being limited to 16 ounces of soda-- it’s plenty to drink and if you want more soda that badly you can just buy more later. But the very idea of limiting what people can eat and drink is, frankly, a bit hard to accept all at once. We as a society don’t usually enjoy being told what to do by the government, so Mayor Bloomberg’s choice to invade New Yorkers’ dining rooms seems overzealous. The other issue with the law is that it is not comprehensive enough: Seven-Elevens are exempt, meaning you can still purchase Big Gulps, and other items, like alcohol, are not included in the ban.

As much as we as Americans hate these kind of restrictions, though, the New York ban is a step in the right direction. The way I see it, it’s pretty much a more extensive version of a vice tax, which we have been paying on cigarettes and other things for years. Besides, it is our government’s responsibility to keep us safe, and sometimes that means keeping track of things that are bad for us. I myself am not ecstatic about this kind of ban, but i recognize that soft drinks are unhealthy and that we need to be dissuaded from the self-destructive behavior of downing a 32 oz. Mountain Dew. Sometimes the right choice is not the one that will make everyone happy.

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