NEW YORK, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The New York City Health Board Thursday approved Mayor Michael Bloomberg's controversial ban on large sugar-filled soft drinks.
The measure, which bans the sale of non-diet soft drinks in greater than 16-ounce containers at restaurants, movie theaters and other locations, is aimed at curbing a citywide obesity trend that mirrors a national one.
It is the first soda ban to be enacted in the United States.
Public health officials lauded the decision.
"No one misses the partially hydrogenated oil or stink of cigarettes Mayor Bloomberg dispatched from New York City restaurants," said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "And very few are really going to miss quart-sized soda servings despite the professionally manufactured outrage from soda-industry front groups."
The ban includes more than just non-diet soda, The New York Times said. Also included are presweetened teas and energy drinks. Dairy drinks such as milkshakes are not included, nor are alcoholic beverages. Restaurants with self-serve soda fountains will not be allowed to provide cups larger than 16 ounces to their customers.
One large omission is that only establishments that receive a grade from the city's health department are included in the ban, meaning convenience stores like 7 Eleven with their "Big Gulp" drinks would be exempt from the ban. The same goes for most newsstands and vending machines that sell 20-ounce sodas.
Despite having widespread support in the scientific community, the Times pointed out six in 10 New York City residents opposed the ban in a recent poll.
The law takes effect in six months.