The New York City Health Board on Thursday imposed a limited ban on super-sized soda drinks that Mayor Michael Bloomberg blames for fueling an obesity crisis.
The ban, hotly opposed by soft drinks manufacturers but hailed by health campaigners, was first proposed by Bloomberg and Thursday's formal approval was not considered a surprise.
The prohibition restricts soda drink servings to a maximum of 16 ounces in fast-food and other restaurants, and places of public entertainment like stadiums. That's more than a normal can, but only half the size of the biggest, bucket-like container that patrons commonly guzzle from in cinemas, sports arenas and other outlets.
However, there is nothing to stop people from buying as much soda as they like by refilling smaller containers. Also, the ban does not extend to drinks sold in supermarkets or any dairy or fruit drinks, many of which also contain huge quantities of sugar.
Diet and alcoholic drinks are also exempted.
The measure, which could face legal challenges from the soft drinks industry, takes effect in six months.