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NYC Lawmaker Wants To Ban Sale Of Big Sugary Drinks To Minors

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- You may have to show your ID to buy a big soda if a new bill becomes law.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, it's not a blanket ban like former Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried. But New York state Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-Staten Island) wants to ban the sale of large sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces to minors statewide.

In announcing the plan, Titone put out green grapes, oranges and apple slices on a conference table to make a point – too much processed sugar is a health hazard for everyone, especially kids.

The ban would only apply if minors were trying to make the purchases alone.

"If the adult buys it for the minor, that's fine. That's a parent or a guardian making an informed decision," Titone said.

NY Lawmaker Wants To Ban Sale Of Big Sugary Drinks To Minors

Titone compared his proposal to the restrictions based on MPAA movie ratings.

"We allow children to see G-rated movies on their own, but they can't see R-rated movies on their own. It's the same concept," he said. "You know, if a parent or guardian – if they really want their children to have that obscene amount of sugar – they can purchase it for them."

Titone also wants food and beverages to have warning labels – not only with grams of sugar, but with the percentage of a person's recommended daily intake.

The American Heart Association said people should consume between 25 and 45 grams of sugar a day or less. A 16-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola has 52 grams, and a 20-ounce bottle of Vitamin Water has 32 grams.

Titone said sugar does the same thing to the brain as addictive drugs, including cocaine and heroin.

"People need to be aware of that," Titone said. "Sugar in large quantities is a dangerous product. Like a gun, it will kill you. It's just going to take a little longer."

Under the law, people would have to show ID to buy sugar, the same way they have to show ID to buy cigarettes and cans of spray paint.

Bloomberg's plan to put a 16-ounce limit on sugary drinks was struck down by the courts, which said it was an illegal overreach of executive power by the Board of Health.

Titone said Bloomberg's proposal went too far.

"The proposed ban was by far way too wide-sweeping," he said.

Some New Yorkers thought the age-specific ban was a good idea.

"They should put a ban on soda," said Judith Hinds of Flatbush, Brooklyn. "Soda is not good for the body."

But others said the idea for a ban was an overreach.

"People have the right to choose what they want to drink," said Joe Media of the Bronx. He said if one buys a large soda, "you're still paying taxes – you're paying for it."

A spokesman for the American Beverage Association told CBS2 the group is not keen on the idea, claiming bans do not change people's behavior.

The association is working with the city on an initiative to go into communities such as the South Bronx, Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Crown Heights, with the goal to get residents to reduce their daily beverage calorie intake by 20 percent.

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