Theater Lobbying Group Hails Soda Ban Ruling, but Bloomberg Won’t Give Up Fight

National Association of Theater Owners says court decision shows regulations on sale of soda is inappropriate way to combat obesity

A lobbying group for theater chains hailed a New York state appeals court decision on Tuesday to strike down New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attempts to restrict sugary beverage sales.

The mayor vowed to keep fighting for the controversial ban on the large size beverages in theaters and restaurants; , intended to curb obesity.

The National Association of Theater Owners of New York, a lobbying group for exhibitors that has been helping to mount a campaign against the rules, said it was "happy that today the Appellate Division upheld the earlier ruling that declared the soda ban invalid," in a statement to TheWrap. "Declaring that the soda ban violated the separation of powers again demonstrates that arbitrary Mayoral fiats are an inappropriate way to confront obesity."

A panel of judges found that New York City's board of health had exceeded it regulatory powers when it attempted to restrict the sale of sugary sodas bigger than 16 ounces in those venues. In particular, the judges faulted the arbitrary nature of the rules and noted that they did not apply to supermarkets or other stores.

Dubbed the soda ban, the proposal by the Bloomberg administration has faced fierce blow back from the food and beverage industry and exhibitors, who have argued that consumers should be able to make their own decisions about what they buy.

Also read: After Soda Ban Fizzles, NYC Health Dept. Says Diabetes-Related Deaths at Record Levels

The Bloomberg administration said it has not exhausted its legal fight and said that the regulations were critical to combating city-wide obesity issues.

“Since New York City’s ground-breaking limit on the portion size of sugary beverages was prevented from going into effect on March 12th, more than 2,000 New Yorkers have died from the effects of diabetes," Bloomberg said in a statement.

"Today’s decision is a temporary setback, and we plan to appeal this decision as we continue the fight against the obesity epidemic," he added.

This is not the first legal hurdle the proposed rules have faced. In March, State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling ruled that the restrictions were invalid a day before they were scheduled to be implemented.