New York’s soda ban: An attack on Americans’ freedom

On September 13, the New York City Board of Health voted to ban the sale of sugary drinks served in containers larger than 16 ounces. Granted, the measure only covers establishments that are inspected by the health department, convenience stores will not be affected, and does not include all beverages, diet soda, alcohol, and other drinks are exempt.

However, the sanction still is a major blow for civil rights. If the government can now decide how much of something you can drink, what other aspects of your life will it want to control next?

The New York ban very well could result in some negative consequences. Other cities could adopt similar beverage sanctions, and then food could be targeted.

Eventually, restrictions could be- come so commonplace that politicians will think nothing of censoring media and prohibiting certain opinions. When you trample on civil rights enough times, they cease to hold any significance.

Mayor Bloomberg said that the purpose of the ban is to fight the spread of obesity, but that is a flimsy excuse for such a potentially dangerous act.

The fact of the matter is people make their own decisions, including what to put in their mouths. If they want to drink more than 16 ounces of a beverage, they will just buy multiple smaller drinks. If they want to lose weight, they will not eat and drink as much. And if they seriously cannot control their dietary intake, they will seek help from a nutritionist or a personal trainer.

The government has no right to play life coach to its citizens. This ineffective ban is only hurting business owners who cannot sell their products, consumers who have to pay more to buy extra beverages, and the rights of all.

I drink sugary beverages every day, and I do not have diabetes, rotten teeth, missing toes, or any- thing else that is blamed on them by scare tactic advertisements. I am also not obese, and neither will anyone else if they drink in moderation. What I am, or at least what I thought I was, is a free American citizen.

But with the passing of this sanction, is that so anymore? Now it seems more likely that I am really an American citizen with rapidly diminishing freedoms thanks to government actions such as this.

A loophole ridden sanction might not seem like such a big deal, but considering what it truly is – an affront to the Constitution – makes it truly appalling. I recommend going to 7-11, ordering a Big Gulp soda, or going to McDonald’s and getting an extra large soda and drinking it in protest.

Sean Quinn is a junior journalism major from Cranford, NJ. He can be reached at Sean.Quinn@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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