Boston says good-bye to soda!

By Martin Finucane, Globe Staff

Saying that sugary drinks have caused rising obesity among city residents and driven up health care costs, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino today moved to ban the sale, advertising, and promotion of the drinks on all city property.

“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.

Menino issued an executive order requiring city departments to take steps in the next six months to phase out the beverages.

The order applies to cafeterias, vending machines, concession stands, and beverages served at meetings, the mayor’s office said.

The drinks that will be banned include: non-diet sodas, pre-sweetened ice teas, refrigerated coffee drinsk, energy drinks, juice drinks with added sugar, and sports drinks. The order will allow the sale of diet sodas, diet iced teas, 100 percent juices, low-calorie sports drinks, low-sugar sweetened beverages, sweetened soy milk, and flavored sweetened milk. It will also allow the sale of such items as bottled water, and flavored and unflavored seltzer water.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said in that in the long term, the policy will cut health care costs.

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

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