News that New York City has banned the sale of sugary drinks by restaurants and others in containers larger than 16 ounces once again makes one want to scratch one’s head.
We all know that eating too much sugar has its risks. It can harm diabetics, perhaps even push the onset of diabetes in certain diabetes-prone people. It can cause tooth decay. It can lead to weight gain. In some people, it can be habit-forming. It can make you burp.
But is a prohibition necessary, or do people have the right to harm themselves if they want to? Let’s say you wanted a 32-ounce Pepsi or Coke with your monstro-burger and fries. There would be a way around the new ban. Just buy two 16-ouncers. Restaurants wouldn’t serve large portions of sugary drinks if the customers didn’t want them.
If would make much more sense to ban cigarettes, which can kill you, but that won’t happen. They may get taxed out of the market, but you won’t see any bans because the tobacco lobby has Congress by the purse strings and won’t let go. Also if cigarettes are criminalized, only criminals will have cigarettes.
It has been the same with the ban on marijuana, which is why that prohibition has been such a resounding success.
The same may be true in New York of 32-ounce sugar-sweetened soft drinks.
I know people who pack around their own 32-ounce insulated soft-drink containers which they fill when they go to get something at a convenience store. The store is happy to sell the drinks that way because saves them the expense of the container in which they normally would sell it. If that is the case in New York, will the city have to hire police officers to patrol fast-food restaurants and convenience stores to keep them from filling those big jugs people carry around? Or if they do fill those containers, do they run the risk of losing their soft-drink licenses? Oh, the humanity!
The cops also may check the soft-drink customers’ blood to see whether the sugar levels are too high. Instead of the charge being DWI (driving while intoxicated) it would be DWS (driving while sweet).