By Jay Zimmer

Goodbye Big Gulp!

While Evansville smokers sit beneath a miasma of political rhetoric supporting the city’s ban on lighting up, some New Yorkers draw the short straw. Soda enthusiasts are foaming over Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to ban sodas over 16 ounces. The ban applies to restaurants and movie theaters but not to soda bought in grocery stores.

Why?

Groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) say soda is metabolically toxic, and sugary pop in large quantities contributes to the worsening obesity problem.

Opponents of the measure say three-term Mayor Bloomberg is trying to form a “nanny state,” where government makes basic decisions for New Yorkers.

Proponent Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University soda is the largest source of added sugar in a typical American diet, and they have no nutritional value. He said he agrees with holding soda drink portions to 16 ounces or less because if people are served larger portions they tend to consume more.

The Board of Health of New York City is expected to vote on the measure September 13. And since the Board is made up mostly of Bloomberg appointees, passage is a virtual certainty.

Opponents of the ban are bubbling to the surface though. Coca Cola, which calls the measure “insulting,” is joining with the American Beverage Association, which also represents Pepsico, in fighting the ban. Association spokesman Jim McGreevey called the proposal, “misguided, arbitrary, unscientific, and if adopted, probably unlawful.”

New Yorkers are also adapting to a similar smoking ban to the one subjected to Evansville residents recently. New York, under Bloomberg, cannot smoke in bars, theater lobbies or restaurants.