Boston mayor takes on sugary drinks

Amanda Carey Contributor
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City of Boston Mayor Tom Menino signed an executive order, Thursday, banning the sale, promotion and advertising of sugary drinks on government-owned property. The order requires departments under the city government to take steps to comply with the ban within six months.

“I want to create a civic environment that makes the healthier choice the easier choice in people’s lives, whether it’s schools, worksites, or other places in the community,” Menino said in a statement after the ban was announced.

Menino, along with executive director of Boston Public Health Commission Dr. Barbara Ferrer, cited a link between obesity and rising health costs as the reason for the ban.

“Economists estimate that medical costs for an obese patient are about 42 percent higher a year than for a patient with healthy weight,” said Ferrer in a statement.

As The Daily Caller previously reported, the city of Boston received a $12.5 million grant to combat tobacco usage and obesity through the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program that is administered through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and funded by the Recovery Act.

Of that grant, $6.4 million was allocated specifically for anti-obesity campaigns. In return, the city promised to fund citywide efforts that “decreased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.”

When contacted by The Daily Caller, a spokesperson for Boston Public Health Commission said that the city’s anti-obesity campaign included policy changes throughout the city. But, “the only thing we spent money on was point of decision signage.”

Point of decision signage, according to the spokesperson, is posted signs or ads that “spell out for consumers” the difference between what drinks are acceptable and what aren’t. The signs cost $6,500.

In a press release last year, the Health Commission noted that the CPPW grant money would be used in part to “decrease consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages through counter-advertising and policy change.”

Boston already has bans in place on smoking in bars and trans fats in restaurants.