New York City's Board of Health passed a controversial, experimental ban Thursday on the sale of oversized sugary drinks in the Big Apple.
The regulation was proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and includes any non-diet soda, sweetened teas, or other caloric beverages served in containers larger than 16 ounces.
It will effect fast-food restaurants, movie and Broadway theaters, workplace cafeterias, and almost anywhere that sells prepared food.
Restaurant and beverage industries have called the plan misguided and accuse the city's experts of exaggerating the effect sugary drinks have on obesity in America.
Eight board members voted for the ban while only one board member and practicing internist, Dr. Sixto R. Caro, abstained from voting.
"I am still skeptical. This is not comprehensive enough," Caro said.
Critics and even some New Yorkers argue the ban is just more government intrusion.
The sugary drink ban is just one of many of Bloomberg's ambitious regulations. The mayor was the catalyst for making chain restaurants post calorie counts on their menus and was behind the ban on artificial trans fats served in NYC restaurants.
After Thursday's vote, Bloomberg's official Twitter feed tweeted: "NYC's new sugary drink policy is the single biggest step any gov't has taken to curb (hash)obesity. It will help save lives."
They say the proposal strikes at a leading cause of obesity simply by giving people a built-in reason to stop overeating.
For someone who drinks a soda a day that could potentially amount to 14,600 calories a year, enough to add about four pounds of fat to a person's body.
The ban would not apply to lower-calorie drinks, such as water or diet soda, or to alcoholic beverages or drinks that are more than half milk or 70 percent, unsweetened juice. It also doesn't cover beverages sold in supermarkets or most convenience stores.
Thursday's vote is unlikely to be the final word on the proposal.
A group opposed to the ban, New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, has already gathered more than 250,000 signatures to petition the plan and is considering a lawsuit.
"This is not the end," Eliot Hoff, a spokesman for the group, said in a written statement.
"We will continue to voice our opposition to this ban and fight for the right of New Yorkers to make their own choices," he said. "And we will stand with the business owners who will be hurt by these arbitrary limitations."