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The New York Soft Drink Size Ban

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Post Voting Period
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It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/21/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,515 times Debate No: 26445
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




Welcome Challenger!

If you accept this debate, you will be taking the "Pro/For" side of the new ban on certain sizes of soft drinks in New York. Basically, you approve of the new restrictions.
I as the "Con/Against" side of the topic will debate the idea that the new ban is wrong, and disapprove the new ban.
I look forward to the upcoming debate, the only thing I ask of you is to use the first round as acceptance, because I have not stated an opening argument, thank you for your courtesy!


I accept your challenge and wish you good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Pro for accepting! Now in to the debate-

The Ban
As you are well aware, a new ban in New York has been implemented banning the purchase of large soda in restaurants and concession stands starting in March. Now, the purpose of the recent ban purposed has been to assist in helping America's obesity problem. I do not disagree that obesity in America is a problem. It is a problem, we are a very overweight country. That is not what we are debating though, we are debating the new ban, which if anything, could actually end up hurting its own cause.

Already causing issues
Citizens and businesses are already suing New York and Governor Bloomberg for the new ban. People are not happy with the new ban, if anything, it has annoyed the city! Here's an article from the Washington Post about the lawsuits being filed. People and businesses are not happy with the ban!

Against its own cause?
Not only are people angry, but the new ban may even go against itself! With people not being able to purchase a drink over 16 oz. people may resort to other matters, such as buying two 16 oz drinks, or maybe a 16oz and a 12oz. People rely on the convenience of a 24 oz drink, so if they are used to 24 oz, they may end up with more soda having to buy two of them! People may gain more weight and may drink more soda!

Punishing as a whole
I also think the new law may be a little unfair to the citizens. Now, a great deal of Americans are obese, actually 35.7% of adults are obese, and 17% of children are overweight. This new ban will punish the 35.7% of obese adults, and the 64.3% that are perfectly fine! Not to mention the 83% of healthy weight children and the 17% overweight children. We aren't helping the problem by punishing everyone for the few percent that are overweight and abuse the soda in states like New York. Punishing as a group, I freely confess, is very unjust.
Stats stated above from

Last and most importantly of all, the new ban purposed will only take away freedom. This is America, if I want to drink a 24 oz drink I should be allowed to drink a 24 oz drink! Who is the governor to tell me what size of drink I can buy? Nobody should be allowed to tell me how much I can and can't drink. Now this could lead to what people call, the "Slippery slope theory" Which I believe is a logical theory in this instance. Once people like my opponent start to stand for things like drink sizes to be restricted by government, you're only letting the government control your life more and more. Once they take away drink sizes, they may go after certain drinks, then certain restaurants. Soon, the government will tell you when, where, and what to drink. Like I said this is America, if I want a large soda I should be able to drink a large soda!


The Washington Post

Obesity in America. Org



First, some math.
The estimated cost for fountain soda, that is soda syrup stored seperately from seltzer water and mixed upon being dispensed, is about 12 cents for the equivalent of a can of soda. Conveniently, a can of soda is 12 ounces so that's about 1 cent an ounce. So in a 16 ounce soda, the real price of the soda is 16 cents. Let's say an average fountain soda in New York is sold at $2.50. Which for New York prices is reasonable, Amiright? 2.50 divided by .16 is 15.625. So that's about 16 times you would have to refill your soda for the soda company to lose money. My point is that it is advantageous for soda companies to sell their soda in large amounts, the price the consumer pays for the extra soda will greatly outweigh the price of the extra soda. If the serving is 24 ounces instead, that is an extra 8 ounces, that's an extra eight cents for the seller, whereas they can tack on an extra $1.50 if they want to. Despite my clients claims that obesity is not a problem, it certaintly is. And it is a problem because companies are allowed to exploit the consumer, this ban protects the consumer, not hurts them

Already causing issues. What issues?
What real issues could this cause. What justifiable outrage could someone have with not being able to buy their optimal amount of soda at the movie theater. As for the protests and lawsuits, the Soda industry plays a part. "Big Soda" is almost three quarters the size of "Big Tobacco" in revenues, it's product is worthless in comparison, yet they make a ransom off it, it's far less restricted than tobacco, and unlike tobacco, a huge share of their consumer base are children. It is a dirty industry. Big Soda special interests have engineered a nonsense citizen's movement against the ban through social media sites and even hiring protesters directly to march at petition rallies. Many of the lawsuits you allude to are from beverage companies which is to be expected. Many lawsuits are admittedly from small privately-owned restaurants, but in the end they can't stand to actually lose any money from this ban whatsoever. Someone who desires an outrageously large soda is not going to be so disgusted that they cannot be provided a large enough soda that they buy no soda on principle, and many people will choose to buy two sodas to make up for the size loss. These guys are looking at some profit and they've decided to make a childish fuss over it.

Against its own cause? No
Flawed logic. If I had designed the ban, sure, I would not include the option to buy a second soda, but this is just a design flaw, that doesn't prove that the whole thing is a negative. For that to be a legitimate concern to the point of reversing the ban, it would have to have the potentially to actually do more harm than good. It has to be realistic that in all people might actually drink more soda. That would never happen because the amount of people who will settle for the slightly smaller drink will far outweigh the people who feel the need to indulge their hedonistic lifestyle in a second drink. The idea that the MAJORITY of people might buy another is ludicrous.

Punishing as a whole. Punishing who?
Who is this punishing really? These kids can go to the grocery store and buy as many two liters as they want. The fact that when they go to the movies, they have to settle for a sensible serving is not punishment. I ask that my opponent elaborate on his strange definition of punishment. The punishment is on Big Soda to stop them from being able unload it's disgusting, dirt cheap diabetes-juice on wide-eyed little schoolchildren (I contend that this sentence is not sexually suggestive in anyway.) As I previously explained, Big Soda makes its profit off the fact that its genetically-modified chemically-engineered product is so cheap they can sell such outrageous amounts at a time. This ban is justifiable because it is a cap on that power and not a real regulation on the consumer itself.

Freedom! Not at stake.
Again this ban is not a restriction on your ability to buy, it is a restriction on the providers ability to sell too much. I get the concept of governments not being wise on telling people what is good for them. I think the government should let people make their own choices. However this ban is not akin to the governments policy on these things. This ban is more akin to the legislation against tobacco being advertised near schools and targeting the teenage demographic. These things are not infringement on constitutional right of choice but checks on the power of industries to do harm. In the case of the tobacco industry such legislation stops them from taking advantage of the teenage social paradigm that smoking is associated with coolness, and the ban stops soda companies from taking advantage of their frighteningly cheap and expendable product. Personal Freedom doesn't enter into it.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent's most recent argument is very flawed and unproductive. The opponent also puts in a false absurd quote that I supposedly said, when I literally stated the opposite. That is were I would like to begin my rebuttal.

Blatantly false statement
My opponent says, and I quote "despite my opponents claims that obesity is not a problem"
Absurd. I clearly stated in the beginning of round two, and I quote myself,
"I do not disagree that America has an obesity problem. It is a problem,"

My opponent put false words in my mouth. I would just like to point out to the audience that, as you can tell because I stated it above, American Obesity is a problem. I truly believe that and I stated it above, and my opponent tried to put a false accusation in his response. Please listen, America Obesity is a problem! I agree with that statement one hundred percent, the way of fixing it though is not by taking away drinks from a whole group of people. That's taking too much from too many people.

Already Causing Issues
In my opponent's previous argument, he has this title, only followed by the words, "What issues?" Actually, like I said before, there are a lot of large issues arising already. New York is being sued! That is quite a big issue if you ask me, maybe not to my audience or opponent though. Also, New York City and Governor Bloomberg are not being sued by one person or group, they're being sued by multiple large businesses, crucial to the economy in New York. When you have multiple large companies suing the city, it is a drastic issue, in my mind.

Freedom! "Not at stake"
Here are some direct quotes from my opponent, that shows that freedom indeed is at stake.

My opponent says-"This ban is a restriction to the providers ability to sell to much,"

Providers, in a free country, should be able to sell whatever and however they want with no restrictions from the government, unless of course it is illegal or extremely harmful to citizens in the sense it is unsafe. An 8 oz. different is not extremely harmful to the people of America, in comparison to selling steak infested with disease.

My opponent says-"I think the government should let people make their own choices,"

Ok, so if you, (my opponent) believe that people should let their government make their own decisions, why are you standing for the idea that we should restrict what sizes of drinks people should buy. Lets, like you said, let the people make their own decisions in the sense that they can order whatever size drink that they want.

My opponent then continues to talk about the tobacco industry, which is indeed a problem, but it is not what we are discussing. We are talking about restricting the sizes of drinks we, as citizens can buy.

This is America
Overall, my main concern for this new ban is that I do not like the government telling me what to drink and how much of it. I don't mind a little instruction from the government, but when I say little I mean minimal. Sure, the government warning me about disasters and how to stay safe, but when they get involved in what I can eat or drink they cross the line. At my school in Mid-Ohio, we are not allowed to drink anything at lunch except for milk and water, and are not allowed condiments, salt, and pepper. This is America, if I want ketchup on my burger who is the government to tell me no? The same concept in New York. If I want a large coke who is the government to tell me that I can't? If I want to be overweight, (I don't know who would set that as a goal) than I can be over weight, because this is a free country! Nobody should be able to tell me what kind of drink size I can have.
Not only is the ban absurd, but could lead to more bans. So lets say this ban follows through despite all of the current law suits, now we loose drink sizes. Then maybe certain drinks. Then maybe soda. Then maybe this, and that, and soon the government tells us exactly what, how much, and when to drink things. Is it a highly possible theory, not likely, but could indeed happen.

The bottom line is that the government should not be able to tell us, U.S. Citizens, how much to drink. We are free for a reason, and part of freedom is being able to pick what to eat and drink, and how much of it. The government should not tell us how to act, and telling us how much we can drink is telling us. If I want to drink a large soda in New York, I should be able to drink a 24 oz. beverage.

Thank you, I now turn the debate over to my opponent.




Yea, first off, I misread your statement about obesity. I thought you said it ISN'T a problem, but you said it IS, so I withdraw that. Good thing I didn't base ANY of my argument on that and only mentioned once.

So onto my opponents rebuttal.

Yes, I do not deny that New York is being sued. I simply contend that the lawsuits are unfounded. just because someone is suing someone because they see a problem doesn't mean it's actually a problem. That's for the courts to decide, and they have unanimously decided against the lawsuits. As I mentioned, these business aren't going to lose any money and if anything they are going to gain money from people feeling the need to buy two drinks. I would also like to point out that restaurants are not suing NY directly. Why would a restaurant, a business trying to make profit, waste thousands on lawyers and court proceedings to contest something that probably won't affect their profit at all. I don't want people to imagine good old mom and pop restaurant owners taking NY to court for this, they don't actually have money hanging in the balance. NY is being sued by special interest groups that claim to represent restaurants, movie theaters, etc. These are the same organizations that sued in response to the legislation that fast food restaurants must display nutritional facts in their establishment, which I think is good legislation. The food industry in this country is out of control and they feed off the fact that people have no understanding of what goes into their food. Obviously they will sue to keep it that way.

"I think the government should make their own choices" -Me

I, personally, believe in the legalization and sale of many drugs and I believe the idea of illegalizing alcohol, tobacco, and firearms is silly. Why do I think that dangerous things are better off being legal. Because they can be REGULATED. Any marijuana activist will tell you that marijuana prohibition doesn't work because its not being legal makes it impossible to regulate. Age limits, buying limits, sales taxes, and inspections are all great tools to check the power of these substances to do harm. Any legalization-supporter who touts personal liberty will tell you this. I believe this ban is no different. it is not a crime against personal liberty, it is not a socialist perversion of the free market it is regulation of harmful substance, which is the main benefit of keeping harmful substances legal. In Amsterdam, the legal marijuana capital of Europe and personal freedom capital of the world, you can't go into a coffee shop and buy more than an eighth. That's their limit and it's a sensible one. And you don't have the option of buying two eighths if you want either. No one's going to accuse Amsterdam of being TOO restrictive of marijuana sales obviously, and their restriction on coffee shops selling too much pot is even more stringent than the NY restriction on restaurants selling too much soda. And guess which one's worse for you.

My opponent did rightfully point out that he believes obesity is a problem. I actually disagree. I believe obesity in the US is a symptom of a greater problem. That problem is the disgusting and base approach to food that our industry has taken, and this most harmless and mundane of restrictions on them is certaintly no great crime. Right now heart disease, often caused by poor diet, is the number one killer in the USA. Cancer is number two. Yet, tobacco companies are restricted heavily because their product causes cancer. Up to now I can't think of a single restriction on soda. My opponent says, "an 8oz difference is not extremely harmful." This is very true, but a teenager smoking a cigarette isn't harmful either. it's when they do it to excess and make it a habit that it is harmful, much like drinking excessive amounts of soda habitually. That's why tobacco companies are forbidden from targeting teenagers in ads. That's no assault on liberty, it's a sensible restriction on a harmful product. I know it's hard to see why a few restrictions and regulations seem like a move towards socialism, but a world in which harmful substances are seen as no different from healthy alternatives in my opinion is a dangerous world.

I reject all previous and any further statements that this ban is telling "people" what to do. People can cash their check every week, buy nothing but soda from a grocery store, and hook it up to their veins through an IV if they want.

My opponent has dropped the following points:
- The cheapness of soda and the benefit of companies to sell it in unhealthy amounts
- This restriction is similar to long standing restrictions on tobacco (and, although I didn't mention it before, alcohol)
- His idea that people might buy MORE soda is flawed logic
- The soda industry is paying people to publicly oppose the legislation

Debate Round No. 3


Thank you, and now in to the final round. First off, I would like to bring to the audience's attention;

My opponent is two sided.
When it comes to obesity, my opponent has said two opposite statements, stated by himself on if it is a problem or not. In round two, my opponent says;
"despite my clients claim that obesity is not a problem, it certainly is,"
So by reading this you understand that my opponent thinks that obesity indeed is a problem, for it is clearly stated. Then my opponent, in round three says;
"my opponent did rightfully point out that he believes obesity is a problem. I actually disagree"
Now, my opponent claims that obesity is not a problem. My opponent's belief towards obesity is two sided and against himself. All of these quotes were taken directly from my opponent's previous arguments.

"Dropped topics"
Although I did infer ideas of the dropped topics in my previous debates, I did not reply specifically to those exact topics, for I thought that is was not necessary, but if my opponent insists on it, I certainly will.
"The cheapness of soda and the benefit of companies to sell it in unhealthy amounts," First, an unhealthy amount is determined by the specific person. 24 oz may be unhealthy for me and not you. 12 oz may be unhealthy for one person but perfectly fine for another. We can not determine an "unhealthy" and "healthy" amount, for it is different for everyone.

"This restriction is similar to long standing restrictions on tobacco
," We are not talking about tobacco restrictions and bans, we are talking about whether or not you can buy a 24 oz coke from McDonald's.

"His idea the people might by more soda is flawed logic
," Once again, it is an inconvenience for people not being able to buy as much soda as they want. It is just very annoying, therefore people may go against the cause in a boycott sort of way. Is it a highly possible scenario? Not too much, but it is possible.

"The soda industry is paying people to publicly oppose the legislation
" Another conspiracy theory. Why in the world would a company spend their money on average citizens to oppose the ban, when the soda company, who in a group has way more power than an average citizen, spend their money for people to appose it, when they could do it themselves for free? They have more of a say and more power, so why pay citizens? Also, no proof. Now, this does not include the private industries suing the city, which indeed there are like my opponent stated. But they are private groups who are against the cause. And like my opponent said, "why would the companies waste their money?" The companies are private, and like most people, are against the ban.

Now that I have responded to all, supposed loose ends, I can make a small rebuttal to my opponents most previous statement, then go in to my closing statement.

First, I do not get why my opponent keeps referring to tobacco, marijuana, cigarettes, ect. We are talking about soda proportion being banned, not the legalization or marijuana. There is quite a difference between the two. He also says "I reject all previous and any further statements that this ban is telling "people" what to do."
I do not know why the quotes around "people," maybe because my opponent stands for the idea of banning the companies and not the citizens. Well the companies are people too, just like you and me. So, you are not banning a company, you are banning the people working in that company, regulating what they can and cannot sell. Now, if that is not what you mean when you say that, and are truly stating that you are not telling citizens what to do, that is absurd. That is exactly what you are doing. You are telling people that they must not buy drink sizes over 16 oz. How are you telling them? You are banning them!
'People can cash their check every week, buy nothing but soda from a grocery store, and hook it up to their veins through an IV if they want," says my opponent in the previous round. Exactly. So why ban it from a restaurant when people can just always get as much as they want? If anything, in an oversimplification, this ban is a very large inconvenience!

Final Statement
I would like to finish off by simply stating how wrong this ban really is to our freedom in the sense it will take away basic freedom such as eating and drinking. Also, this is America. If I want a large coke at a local restaurant I should be able to get one! Nobody should tell me no. This ban not only violates basic principles of freedom, but if anything, is quite the inconvenience. This ban will be followed by a great deal of lawsuits and protesting. The ban is also not scientifically based that it will regulate obesity, which my opponent has stated is not important, so why the ban? My only question, why? This ban is absolutely absurd in the sense that it is;
Violating basic principles of freedom, a large inconvenience to the city and the citizens, and unproductive.

Thank you to my opponent for a great debate!



"Two Sided"
My opponent claims I am two sided because at one point I said obesity was a serious problem and at one point claimed it was not a problem. But I was clearly illustrating a point:

"My opponent did rightfully point out that he believes obesity is a problem. I actually disagree. I believe obesity in the US is a symptom of a greater problem. That problem is the disgusting and base approach to food that our industry has taken."

Obviously I think obesity is a problem. I was simply making the point that the obesity problem is merely a symptom of an irresponsible food production industry. That is the real problem, the root cause of our obesity. Very easy to understand and my opponent took it totally out of context. This in no way proves my case to be inconsistent. My opponent is grasping at straws

My opponent offers rebuttal to the following topics:

1."The cheapness of soda and the benefit of companies to sell it in unhealthy amounts,"
My opponent claims an unhealthy amount will be different for everyone. However, over time 8 extra ounces of soda can add up and become unhealthy for anyone. I explained earlier that if someone bought a 16oz soda for $2.50 they would have to refill it about 16 times to actually drink $2.50 worth of soda. That would be 780 grams of sugar. That is enough to put anyone in diabetic shock. Soda as a whole should not be banned, but because of its dirt cheap yet immensely profitable nature, they have a tendency to be consumed in unhealthily large amounts and capping those amounts in restaurants is reasonable legislation.

2. "His idea the people might buy more soda is flawed logic," He admits it is not a highly possible scenario which is good enough for me. No reason to waste words

3. "The soda industry is paying people to publicly oppose the legislation." My opponent claims this is a conspiracy theory. It is far from a theory. Many have reported being called repeatedly to help protest against the ban. Soda representatives offer people on the streets $30 an hour to get people to sign petitions. Well. obviously most people sign a petition that some shoves in their face so then the soda industry goes around touting the petitions and people like my opponent think their is mass political unrest resulting from the oppressive ban. Big soda has littered the city with ads against the legislation. These companies are trying to sway public opinion against health efforts. This is a perversion of social progress and immoral. I equate the actions of the beverage industry in response to this ban to the propaganda put out by Exxon and BP after their oil spills to document the very "small" effect the spills had on the area. Companies do this to control public opinion so their trade will not be questioned.
Here are some articles about the soda industry in and outside of NY In Richmond, VA beverage companies are suing to keep hidden documents which prove funding of campaigns and phony grassroots opposition movements to a beverage tax law.

If tobacco or firearm companies were to disseminate public opinion in this manner they would be sued silly. Which leads me to my final point...

4."This restriction is similar to long standing restrictions on tobacco,"
My opponent claims that tobacco, alcohol, drugs are not analogous to soda and therefore are not relevant. I disagree. I think soda is not somehow unique from all the other harmful stuff our government regulates. Why should regulation of the sale of other harmful substances and products be so tightly watched and the flow of dangerously unhealthy genetically modified foods be allowed to continue unfettered. I think that some some harmful products should be regarded as different than others in the eyes of the government is wrong. I believe the reason obesity is a huge problem in this country is symptomatic of widespread concurrence with my opponents belief: that unhealthy foods are somehow below the level of being worthy of regulation like alcohol and tobacco. Unhealthy lifestyle leads to more death than both lung cancer and alcohol related death in this country. For us to reign in the run-away unhealthiness of our nation's citizens we must view dangerously unhealthy foods akin to strictly regulated substances our government deems worthy of taxes, age limits, and buying limits. Therefore, although my opponent bases his case on the fact that this ban is an encroachment on the personal rights of both citizens and businesses, I believe this not an unprecedented assault on personal choice but rather one that is consistent with our attitudes towards similar substances which are sometimes less dangerous than soda and other needlessly detrimental food products.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Samyul 5 years ago
Really not liking a 0-0 tie "
Posted by Muted 5 years ago
Obesity is not a problem, it is just a symptom. The problem is unbalanced diets.
Posted by CRSdave 5 years ago
It is not up to the government to tell us what to drink. It is not up to the government to tell companies what to sell. That is absurd. End of story.
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