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Another Soda Ban Proposed?

The mayor of Cambridge has proposed limiting the size of soda and sugar-sweetened beverages sold in city restaurants, saying she was inspired by a similar measure in New York City.

Soda cups
Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Mayor Henrietta Davis on Monday asked the city’s health officials to research her proposal and make a recommendation on limiting beverage sizes. The city is adjacent to Boston and is home to Harvard and MIT.

Davis cited an increased risk of obesity and diabetes as reasoning behind the resolution.

“As much free will as you can have in a society is a good idea,” Davis said Tuesday. “… But with a public health issue, you look at those things that are dangerous for people, that need government regulation.”

In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal would prohibit licensed food service establishments in the city from using containers bigger than 16 ounces to serve high-calorie drinks like colas.

Consumers could buy another round, but restaurants couldn’t serve sugary drinks in the 20-ounce cups now popular at fast food eateries.

Davis also said regulation might not be necessary to prevent the sale of large-sized sugary beverages in Cambridge. She said city officials could pitch a voluntary compliance agreement to vendors or create an incentive program to encourage cooperation.

Davis, who also is a chair of a Cambridge community coalition that focuses on children’s health, said she’s been hearing mixed reactions to her resolution.

Don Puzy, the manager of a 7-Eleven in the city, on Tuesday called the mayor’s proposal “absolutely crazy.”

He said he sells a lot of the store’s signature Big Gulps, but said it’s mostly grownups who buy them.

“We appreciate her trying to do something about the kids, their weight, but that is not the way to go about it,” Puzy said of the mayor’s proposal. “There are a lot of programs for it … starting from the schools … Don’t put it on the stores.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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