The Big Apple may soon be known as the Medium-Sized Apple after New York City authorities on Thursday approved an unprecedented ban on the sale by restaurants and vendors of large-sized, sugared drinks, citing a need to combat growing obesity.
"NYC's new sugary drink policy is the single biggest step any gov't has taken to curb obesity," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who pushed hard for the ban, wrote on his Twitter feed after the city's board of health approved the measure.
"It will help save lives," Bloomberg said.
The restriction will affect a wide-range of business owners that will prohibit them from selling sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces (454 grams) in restaurants, coffee houses, stadiums, movie theaters, and arenas, the Center for Consumer Freedom stated on its website.
Bloomberg and other city leaders are hoping the ban, which is due to go into effect on March 12, 2013, will promote a national dialogue about the obesity epidemic in America.
The mayor stated on his website that the increase in consumption of sugary drinks has been the "largest single cause of the rise in calories in the American diet in the last 40 years."
Some studies have shown that drinking these beverages could lead to weight gain, obesity and other health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
But while the city's health board and other organizations including Weight Watchers support the large drink ban, others are less enthusiastic.
"Bloomberg is treating New Yorkers like children and that is enormously frustrating," said J. Justin Wilson, senior research analyst for the Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit organization dedicated to safeguarding consumer choices.
"The city has more problems to deal with than people ordering sodas," he said.
A poll recently taken by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut indicated that 51 percent of New York City voters oppose the measure.
"This is plain and simple social engineering and it has crossed the boundaries for what is the appropriate form of government," said Wilson.
"No one needs protecting from soda pop."