New York City has passed the first US ban on large-size sodas and other sugary drinks sold in restaurants and other eateries in a measure to fight what is called the "obesity epidemic". An eight-member New York City Board of Health Thursday approved the proposal by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to ban sales of super-sized sugary beverages in the city, with one member abstaining. The panel voted in favour of the plan to put a 16-ounce (about 0.50 liters) size limit on bottled drinks and fountain beverages sold at city restaurants, movie theatres, sports venues and street carts, reported Xinhua.
"This is the biggest step a city has taken to curb obesity," said Bloomberg. "The Board of Health's passing this proposal means that New Yorkers will soon consume fewer junk calories and eventually begin turning the tide of the obesity epidemic that is destroying the health of far too many of our citizens." The ban also applies in workplace cafeterias and most other places selling prepared food, except in groceries and convenience stores. The violators will face a fine of $200. Believed to be the first of its kind in the US, the ban, however, does not cover diet sodas, alcoholic beverages and drinks that are more than 70 percent juice. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, about one-third of Americans are obese and nearly 10 percent of US healthcare costs are linked to obesity-related disease. The new law is expected to be effective from as early as March 2013. Opponents, meanwhile, have vowed to fight the law in court.