Bloomberg s soda ban gets a third bite of the (Big) apple in the state s highest court

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Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 2.18.22 PMWith former Mayor Michael Bloomberg out of office, one may have thought the ban on super-sized sodas (actually anything greater than 16 ounces) would be out of the picture. However, that is not the case. The plan to limit the sale of large-sized, sugary drinks went before the State Court of Appeals on Wednesday after being declared invalid by two lower courts.

It seems, though, that people involved in the decision making process are less concerned about the impact this plan would have in terms of the obesity epidemic which as we have said before would be at best insubstantial and more about how far the Board of Health can go in terms of regulations related to the health of its citizens. If the court chooses to rule that the Board of Health does not have the power to implement these regulations, the role of mayors and public health agencies will be limited in the future. As Ross Sandler, a former advisor to Mayor Edward I. Koch says, This case will make law.

Richard Dearing, lawyer for the city, defended the Board of Health, saying that the ban on large, sugary drinks is an incremental step like a warning label that would only discourage New Yorkers from overconsumption, not prevent them from it.

Although it is not clear how the court is going to choose to rule on this plan, when initially proposed, it was very unpopular with 60 percent of New Yorkers saying it was a bad idea and many feeling that it was a violation of consumer freedom.

ACSH s Ariel Savransky has said in the past: Regardless of whether or not the ban is overturned, the fact is that there is no scientific research supporting the idea that this kind of ban could even be effective at reducing obesity rates. If the NYC Board of Health really wants to make an impact in the fight against obesity, it would be wiser to target other areas in which they may have some regulatory power, such as physical education programs in schools.