AUG 21, 2018 05:11 AM PDT

First, They Came for the Straws...Now the Soda?

Bans on plastic straws and utensils are all over the news recently. While taking care of the planet is crucial, some critics say that banning plastic straws, which many people need because of disabilities, is a "feel good" measure that doesn't solve the problem of plastics and pollution.

While that debate rages on in California cities like Malibu, Manhattan Beach, and San Francisco, a new debate will likely eclipse it. California Senate Bill 1192, which passed the legislature last week, bans restaurants from offering soda or juice with kids' meals on the menu. Instead, restaurants will only be able to provide milk or water with the meals.

It's not a total loss for kids, however. If a parent or other adult with a child wants to purchase them a soda, the law allows for that, as long as the restaurant and its employees are not offering it on their children's menus or handing the drink to a child. Naturally, there has been a lot of media attention to the bill, which is currently awaiting signature by California Governor Jerry Brown.

The American Cancer Society is one of the bill's most active proponents, pointing to research that shows how sugar contributes to obesity and that many forms of cancer are caused, at least in part, by being overweight. Stephanie Winn, of the American Cancer Society, told CBS affiliate KOVR, "Some of these kids are drinking up to three sodas a day. This is setting them up for tremendous cancer risks down the road. Because now we know that 20 percent of all cancers are tied to being overweight."

California is not the only place where sodas are banned from children's menus. The city of Baltimore passed a similar ban in July, allowing only milk, water or 100% juice to be included in kid's meals. A group called Sugar Free Kids Maryland, a children's health advocacy group, told CBS News that Baltimore was the first city on the East Coast to enact such a law. It's also the largest city in the United States to jump on the trend of limiting the kinds of sugary beverages that contribute to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

In many cities, measures like warning labels or size restrictions on drinks were put in place instead of a full-out ban. In 2014 the city of New York instituted a ban on sugar-sweetened beverages larger than 16 ounces. That ban was struck down by the New York Court of Appeals, who wrote that the city's Board of Health "exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority" when it created the rule.

Parents who weighed in on the proposed ban on sodas had different opinions. While some welcomed it, others felt it was an overreach on the part of the government. The video below has more info on the proposal, check it out.

Sources: The Atlantic CBS News CBS News

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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