The Big Ban that Didn't Work Out

Friday, June 01, 2012

On Wednesday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban on any drink larger than 16 ounces, which is a small or medium at most movie theaters. A year and a half ago, Bloomberg lead the New York City council in banning smoking in city parks.

Cities across America have banned all sorts of things: styrofoam, plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic happy meal toys, foie gras. These are just a few of the contemporary bans, of course. Today, The Takeaway looks at the biggest ban in American history — a ban that started in specific cities but spread nationwide. It lasted for over a decade, but eventually was struck down. This was a ban on alcohol.

Daniel Okrent is a journalist, the first public editor of The New York Times, and the author of the book "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition."


Daniel Okrent

Produced by:

John Light

Comments [5]


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Jun. 05 2012 06:51 AM

From what I heard, this is fairly fruitless. Those drinks make up less than 7% of anyone's diet, and while they may not be good for you, there are many worse choices leading to obesity. One commentator I heard was concerned that should this fail, it would be an epic failure and take the eye off the prize of healthier citizens. I just want to be able to choose what I consume.

Jun. 01 2012 10:25 AM
Lorraine from Westchester

James from Brooklyn is so right. This is not a BAN on sugary drinks, but rather a restriction on the size of cups. It is an unfortunate choice of words to use ban instead of restriction or regulation.

I am amazed that consumers feel this is an assault on their freedom. What they don’t seem to recognize is the manipulation they are subjected to from companies. The sizing of the cups is dictated by a company’s need to maximize profits, not a desire to meet consumer needs. Those who want to consume large quantities are always able to do so by buying restrictions there. However, for those of us who prefer small quantities, we are forced to buy larger than we want, or need, as the so-called “small” size today is what used to be the medium or large size years ago.

Perhaps Mayor Bloomberg is simply trying to protect consumers from corporate manipulation.

Jun. 01 2012 09:43 AM

Why are citizens trusted to vote for mayor, governor and President but not trusted to choose what size of soft drink to select?
How long before most of us are not trusted to vote by the "best and brightest" in government who are supposed to work for us and not the other way around?

Jun. 01 2012 07:52 AM
James from Brooklyn

This segment missed the mark entirely! Come on, John. Mayor Bloomberg has not BANNED sugary drinks in the way we banned alcohol in the 20's. Mayor Bloomberg is banning super-sized doses sold in certain venues, essentially making it harder to consume excessive calories. But kids can walk out of the show and legally buy many cans of Coke, if they really want it. TO suggest this creates the kind of incentives prohibition created is, well, kind of FOX NEWS of you.

Jun. 01 2012 07:03 AM

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