ALBANY. N.Y. — A ban on the sale of soft drinks 16 ounces or larger is back on the table in New York, this time specifically aiming at children younger than 18 years old and coupled with warning labels on sodas.
State assembly member Matthew Titone introduced the bill this past week, pointing to research that indicates sugar sets up the same need-and-reward system as heroin, alcohol and opiates, which is why he also proposed a companion measure requiring warning labels on sodas, according to a New York Post report.
“We are unintentionally consuming obscene amounts of sugar,” Titone said, according to the newspaper report. “The idea is to create some sorts of safeguards. It’s addictive. It’s not good for our health. We need to start somewhere.”
The proposal follows a long-fought battle by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to ban drinks larger than 16 ounces. New York’s highest court blocked the ban in June 2014.
Titone said he positioned his bill in a way that wouldn’t be shot down by the courts and would still raise awareness about sugar consumption and curb obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
“If you want your child to have that obscene amount of soft drink, you can buy it for your child,” he told The Post, “and yes, you can still send your child to the store for the 2-liter bottle.”
He compared his proposal to kids viewing an R-rated movie with their parents’ OK: “Your kids can still have it, but we’re saying it might not be appropriate.”
Titone said he has yet to find a sponsor in the state Senate for the bill.