The city’s lawyers argued in court that the Board of Health could hand down the new soda rule because it has broad powers to fight disease. But there is a difference between an outbreak of a deadly communicable disease that has people dropping in the streets and excessive soda consumption. If someone drinks a 32-ounce Cherry Coke next to you at a movie theater, it doesn’t make you sick.
In his decision striking down the ban — which the city is appealing — Judge Milton Tingling mentioned that, in the 19th century, the Board of Health was given the power to put contagious patients out to sea in floating hospitals. If a health expert from some university somewhere suggested floating obese people out to sea as a weight-loss measure, Bloomberg might be sorely tempted.
A mere partial ban on large serving sizes is unlikely to have any effect, though. In a piece for The Daily Beast, Trevor Butterworth noted a study that found the top-consuming 20 percent of adolescent boys drank an ungodly 193.6 ounces, or more than a gallon, a day. Does Bloomberg think anything he does short of an outright ban on all soda will stop these kids? Even in that event, they would undoubtedly visit Mountain Dew speakeasies and imbibe home-brewed Dr Pepper.