Last Thursday, New York City’s Board of Health directors upheld a law that prohibits vendors from selling sodas over 16 oz., encouraging citizens to pursue healthier lifestyles.
Although there are ways to get around the ban, the issue raises a bigger question: Does the government have the right, or should it have the right, to limit the choices of Americans?
The problem is not so much that large quantities of soda are now banned in the city; in fact, many people would agree that even small amounts of soda are not the wisest decision. But the problem remains that government officials continue to make unnecessary lifestyle decisions for the American people.
This particular law even comes against the wishes of New York City residents. According to a New York Times poll, more than 60 percent of residents objected to the ban.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced the law after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released shocking data about the rise of obesity in the U.S. and in NYC. Not only is obesity deadly, but it also contributes to skyrocketing healthcare costs, according to the study.
However, it is the job of the American people, not the government, to take responsibility for their decisions, even when it comes to food choices.
While the law might limit the amount of soda some people consume, nothing prevents residents from buying four 8 oz. sodas or even a whole case to skirt the 16 oz. regulation.
The government can try to stop obesity, but bans on food of any type will not fix the underlying problem of many Americans today, namely the lack of self-control and a loss of respect for their bodies.
Does the government have the right to ban Americans from large sodas?
Technically, yes. But it is not the government’s responsibility to babysit the American people, who should be allowed to make their own healthy (or unhealthy) lifestyle decisions.