Theater owners believe they still have a good shot to beat the rule, adopted yesterday by the New York City Board of Health, that would ban sales of large sized sugar drinks in movie houses, restaurants and other venues. It doesn’t take effect until March 12. And before then a coalition of opponents likely will ask the courts to overturn the measure, supported by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as part of his effort to fight obesity. It would bar food sellers regulated by the Board of Health from selling sugared drinks in portions larger than 16 oz. It would apply to restaurants, theaters, and workplace cafeterias, but not supermarkets and convenience stores. It also exempts diet sodas, alcohol, and fruit juices. Bloomberg called the Board of Health vote “the biggest step a city has taken to curb obesity.” It has drawn attention to the issue, and will “eventually begin turning the tide of the obesity epidemic that is destroying the health of far too many of our citizens.” But Robert Sunshine, executive director of the National Association of Theatre Owners‘ New York State operation, says his group is “opposed to anyone telling us what we can eat and what we can drink.” Concessions account for more than 25% of a typical theater’s revenues, according to SNL Kagan estimates. If the ban takes effect then “somewhere along the line the profit will have to be made up,” Sunshine says. “It’s going to have a tremendous impact.”
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