Soda ban

Politicians in the District of Columbia may be considering a soda ban similar to the one in New York City. (Anacleto Rapping / Los Angeles Times)

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Several Washington, D.C., lawmakers say they're considering a ban on large sugary drinks mirroring the one recently approved by the New York City Board of Health.

District of Columbia Councilwoman Mary M. Cheh said on Twitter that she is "open to exploring any proposal that might improve children's health." Cheh's 2010 effort to tax sugary beverages fell short.

A few candidates for at-large council seats, including incumbents Michael Brown and Vincent Orange, said during a recent debate that they'd back an effort to prohibit the sale of sugar-laden sodas, according to local radio station WTOP.

Mayor Vincent Gray said he hasn’t taken a position on the issue, but told the station that “there probably are some good health reasons to support something like that.”

But others immediately opposed such restrictions. City leaders should focus on other issues, including high unemployment, violent crime and unaffordable housing, said Julie Gunlock, director of the Women for Food Freedom group.

“How is it that America, the land of the free, is turning into a nation of food nannies dictating what you choose to buy and consume,” she said in a statement.

Earlier this month, a collection of businesses and trade groups sued to invalidate the New York City ban, claiming that the city’s health board didn’t have the authority to approve the regulations. The complaint argues that the proposal should have gone through the New York City Council instead.

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