Study: Yeah, that NYC soda ban would probably backfire

posted at 7:41 pm on April 11, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Ah, the utter folly of trying to impose top-down virtue on the oh-so-unenlightened masses.

Bloomberg’s now infamous large-soda ban, ostensibly designed to serve the twofold purpose of both limiting people’s sugary-drink intake and raising awareness of their poor health choices, was put on hold at the eleventh hour by a judge’s ruling last month — but some researchers at UC San Diego were curious whether the law would really have had its intended effect.

A new study suggests this type of law may backfire and actually cause people to purchase more sugary beverages. …

For the study, published April 10 in PLoS One, Wilson and fellow researchers offered 100 participants three kinds of menus. One “unregulated” menu offered drinks in 16 ($1.59), 24 ($1.79) or 32-ounce sizes ($1.99), one menu offered only 16-ounce drinks (also for $1.59) for sale and the third offered either one 16-ounce soda ($1.59) or bundles of two 12-ounce ($1.79) or 16-ounce ($1.99) sodas. …

Participants bought significantly more soda from the menu with bundles of 12 ounce and 16 ounce drinks than they did when offered individual sodas of different sizes.

The researchers also determined based on these choices, that businesses could make more money bundling drinks than only offering one small size. Bundled drinks also outsold the unregulated menu with multiple sizes, which suggests this type of soda ban could make businesses more money.

And businesses, of course, will eventually adjust their menus to maximize their sales — meaning that the soda ban might very well have had the opposite effect of what Bloomberg set out to achieve. The study has its limitations, but the point stands: The outcome of Bloomberg’s would-be ban is very unclear, and it’s probably not wise to try to legislate social engineering that’s going to have who knows what results.

Government, like all other individuals and entities under the sun, operates under imperfect knowledge and also happens to be especially corruptible. Why is it that these progressive nanny-state types always presume to know better than the people making the decisions for themselves, and end up sticking us with the unintended consequences?


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Self-serve refiles, anyone?

Count to 10 on April 11, 2013 at 7:49 PM

It’s not about the physical health of Americans. It’s about CONTROL.

They’re trying to see how far they can push the “Overton Window”.

listens2glenn on April 11, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Even Hitler and Stalin didn’t want to control such mundane aspects of people’s lives as whether they drank 16 oz or 17 oz.

VorDaj on April 11, 2013 at 7:58 PM

What makes you think that if the government can outlaw a certain size of beverage, that they can’t/won’t make it illegal to buy 2 cold, fizzy drinks within a certain frame of time?

vityas on April 11, 2013 at 8:04 PM

They start out small and slow then pick up speed when they really get going with this…

Makes me sick, people like bloomers, he can’t control his own life and therefore feels the need to control others, he has a serious inadequacy in his life…

Fracking control freak…

*spit*

Scrumpy on April 11, 2013 at 8:04 PM

“No one needs 17oz’s to kill a deeeeeeer!!”

Oh, wait,….

aquaviva on April 11, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Even Hitler and Stalin didn’t want to control such mundane aspects of people’s lives as whether they drank 16 oz or 17 oz.

VorDaj on April 11, 2013 at 7:58 PM

Ole Adolph was a vegetarian who drank less after he quit chomping steaks. Look it up.

I called Bloomberg’s office about this and they are really nice people but think banning meat cause of Hitler’s opinions would be a real bad idea. Not good politics. Then she giggled at me.

I like her.

Among other nanny state people, Mexico is trying to get salt off the tables of restaurants.

IlikedAUH2O on April 11, 2013 at 8:07 PM

I drink my scotch roughly 4 oz. at a time… Touch my scotch, and I’ll kill ya.

Polish Rifle on April 11, 2013 at 8:08 PM

THose filthy socons.
/

tom daschle concerned on April 11, 2013 at 8:12 PM

Why is it that these progressive nanny-state types always presume to know better than the people making the decisions for themselves, and end up sticking us with the unintended consequences?

Hubris.

Resist We Much on April 11, 2013 at 8:13 PM

I only want a surgery soda if I can recycle it as a hot tub.

RovesChins on April 11, 2013 at 8:15 PM

“Who needs studies? I’m Bloomberg and I’m smarter than anyone else. You need to fork over your liberty to me because of my superior intelligence.” /Fueher Bloomberg

Bitter Clinger on April 11, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Why is it that these progressive nanny-state types always presume to know better than the people making the decisions for themselves, and end up sticking us with the unintended consequences?

“The talkers and writers resent being left on the sidelines by the doers.” – Thomas Sowell

NotCoach on April 11, 2013 at 8:16 PM

Do you mean to say our enlightened superiors are neither enlightened nor superior?

John the Libertarian on April 11, 2013 at 8:17 PM

“At the time when I ate meat, I used to sweat a lot. I used to drink four pots of beer and six bottles of water during a meeting. … When I became a vegetarian, a mouthful of water was enough.”
- Adolf Hitler. January 22, 1942. Section 117, HITLER’S TABLE TALK

IlikedAUH2O on April 11, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Polish Rifle on April 11, 2013 at 8:08 PM

There’s a good lad.

ghostwalker1 on April 11, 2013 at 8:18 PM

Is everything else in NYC going so perfectly that Bloomberg has time to screw around with this?

echosyst on April 11, 2013 at 8:19 PM

I drink my scotch roughly 4 oz. at a time… Touch my scotch, and I’ll kill ya.

Polish Rifle on April 11, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Yowza, Yowza, Yowza….

JohnGalt23 on April 11, 2013 at 8:19 PM

Progressive War on America……Battlefield: NYC.

Same war, same media, same aggressive ruling classers, same dopey frogs in the pot…..that can’t tell the water is getting warmer.

Viva The Progressive States of the Americas!!!!!

PappyD61 on April 11, 2013 at 8:20 PM

Hmmmm……….seems like the do-gooder “elite intelligentsia” aren’t as smart as they think they are.

Here’s a thought for Mikey and the rest of the fat-ass liberals. MINE YOUR OWN BUSINESS!

GarandFan on April 11, 2013 at 8:21 PM

I think people like bloomie will continue with this till they are actually publicly heckled and humiliated from the crowd during a press conference.

Political Correctness always shrinks away when ridiculed and challenged.

kurtzz3 on April 11, 2013 at 8:22 PM

Do you mean to say our enlightened superiors are neither enlightened nor superior?

John the Libertarian on April 11, 2013 at 8:17 PM

Dit-dit-dit-di-dit-dit-dit-di-dit!

Bloombergian for ‘Yep!’

Resist We Much on April 11, 2013 at 8:23 PM

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky: It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.”

- Mark Twain

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

- C S Lewis

“Very little good has ever been done by the absolute shall.”

- Anonymous American clergyman, 19th century

Resist We Much on April 11, 2013 at 8:25 PM

There’s a good lad.

ghostwalker1 on April 11, 2013 at 8:18 PM

Macallen 18 as we type… There are few substitutes.

Polish Rifle on April 11, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Curiously enough Bloomers hasn’t outlawed platform shoes even though they can be a tripping hazard.

Bishop on April 11, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Well, the obvious answer is to ban 16 and 12 ounce sodas and make it illegal to posses more than ten ounces of liquid at any one sitting during a single meal.

catmman on April 11, 2013 at 8:27 PM

Bloombergian for ‘Yep!’

Resist We Much on April 11, 2013 at 8:23 PM

Hunting deer with full auto rifles happens all the time to dumbberg.

VegasRick on April 11, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Curiously enough Bloomers hasn’t outlawed platform shoes even though they can be a tripping hazard.

Bishop on April 11, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Anybody taller than 6′ should have to go barefoot from now on.

VegasRick on April 11, 2013 at 8:31 PM

Well, the obvious answer is to ban 16 and 12 ounce sodas and make it illegal to posses more than ten ounces of liquid at any one sitting during a single meal.

catmman on April 11, 2013 at 8:27 PM

One might make a killing on the black market selling duty-free Big Gulps. Perhaps a new task force is necessary, fully equipped with riot gear, battering rams, AR-15′s, and of course soda straws.

But I digress.

Polish Rifle on April 11, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Yet you could still buy a 1000 calorie t-bone at some swank NY restaurant.

CW on April 11, 2013 at 8:33 PM

A century ago today, Progressive Woodrow Wilson brought Jim Crow to the north.

Why?

Other than the fact that he was a hideous racist, he believed he knew better than his inferiors…

Resist We Much on April 11, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Did they try to ban Orange Juice? Per ounce it has as much or more sugar.

CW on April 11, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Some nosy mommy-wannabes go into politics… and after they pull shiite like this I can not for the life of me understand why anyone would ever vote for them again, even though I know a few who would.

RalphyBoy on April 11, 2013 at 8:43 PM

Some nosy mommy-wannabes go into politics… and after they pull shiite like this I can not for the life of me understand why anyone would ever vote for them again, even though I know a few who would.

RalphyBoy on April 11, 2013 at 8:43 PM

“The consequences of every act are included in the act itself.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Polish Rifle on April 11, 2013 at 8:48 PM

No worries. Bloomberg won’t live forever. The last remaining gasps of relevancy for an old man. Getting older by the day. Same with Hillary, Biden, Reid, Pelosi, et. al. In ten years, or less, the vanguard of the Nanny Boomer Generation will be dead, or drooling. And we WILL survive them. This country has survived far worse.

teacherman on April 11, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Macallen 18 as we type… There are few substitutes.

Polish Rifle on April 11, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Nice one! I am fond of the Cardhu and the Dalwhinnie myself.

ghostwalker1 on April 11, 2013 at 11:00 PM

“The consequences of every act are included in the act itself.”
― George Orwell, 1984

Polish Rifle on April 11, 2013 at 8:48 PM

And many people wilfully ignore them.

(Is it time yet to name Orwell as an official member of the Hot Air team?)

AesopFan on April 11, 2013 at 11:09 PM

Why is it that these progressive nanny-state types always presume to know better than the people making the decisions for themselves, and end up sticking us with the unintended consequences?

Erika Johnsen

.
“The talkers and writers resent being left on the sidelines by the doers.” – Thomas Sowell

NotCoach on April 11, 2013 at 8:16 PM

.
Indeed.

listens2glenn on April 12, 2013 at 2:53 AM

like bloomers, he can’t control his own life and therefore feels the need to control others

Scrumpy on April 11, 2013 at 8:04 PM

Ain’t that right, Sunshine. I’ll be da-ned if he’ll run mine.

GWB on April 12, 2013 at 10:18 AM

No worries. Bloomberg won’t live forever. The last remaining gasps of relevancy for an old man. Getting older by the day. Same with Hillary, Biden, Reid, Pelosi, et. al. In ten years, or less, the vanguard of the Nanny Boomer Generation will be dead, or drooling. And we WILL survive them. This country has survived far worse.

teacherman on April 11, 2013 at 9:21 PM

I’m not certain that we have.

A parasite from within is a far different thing from an attack from without.

I have hope that his country will survive. My study of history indicates it is unlikely to survive as it was, though.

makattak on April 12, 2013 at 10:27 AM

*this country, not his country

makattak on April 12, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Bundled drinks certainly would seem more attractive if the customer was so inclined because, given a lack of free refills or lack of ease of getting the refill, even if free, once the customer eats their meal they still have a full drink to carry away with them. After all, if you get a 32 oz or 16 oz drink and you drank a substantial portion of it, what is the use of dragging that cup that may be half full or less around with you. It is a bother. Finish it off and drop it in the trash.

My usual haunts are places with self-serve drink dispensers. I also buy a large (or medium, depends on what it fits my car’s cup holder) and refill before I leave. I live nearby so I take the drink to my place and sip away at it as I go online.

I drink diet soda so my consumption of soda is not quite as bad as might be supposed as far as sugar goes.

Bloomberg’s attempt shows that since there is no specific cost, except for an assumed trivial cost of enforcement, associated with the ban all calculations would point to the presumed substantial (if to be realized later) benefits which when injected into a benefit/cost calculation would greatly emphasize the “goodness” of the measure.

Russ808 on April 12, 2013 at 2:45 PM