Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cambridge to Follow New York

The Harvard Crimson announced that the Mayor of Cambridge will try to get the city to limit soft drinks.

They state:

At Monday evening’s City Council meeting, Mayor Henrietta J. Davis proposed a resolution to investigate the possibility of limiting the size of sodas and other sugary drinks in local restaurants.
“This is motivated from a concern about health and children’s health,” said Davis, who has served as co-chair of the Cambridge Healthy Children Task Force since 1990.

“All this positive work can only go so far when the environment is filled with two size servings of soda,” Davis said.

The resolution recommends that the Cambridge Public Health Department examine whether or not a ban on large servings of soda would help to reduce obesity. In an emailed statement, the city’s Chief Public Health Officer Claude-Alix Jacob wrote that the department would have a decision ready by the fall.

Davis noted the similarities between this resolution and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s initiative to limit sodas over sixteen ounces, an act that has drawn accolades from Alec Baldwin and criticism from the New York State Restaurant Association, which labeled the act the “latest in a long list of anti-restaurant initiatives.”

 As we have explained with our previous discussion of the Bloomberg Rule, this adds costs but in reality has no effect. One suspects it is a "feel good" approach. Instead of one large soda they get six small ones.

As usual, the law of unintended consequences will follow through.