Mayor Bloomberg’s “nanny state” an unfortunate reality

Carly Yamrus, Opinion Editor

For the first time in our history, more people in the United States will die from overeating than they will from starvation.

That is really sad.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been causing uproar lately because of a few health initiatives introduced to the city. Unhealthy products such as cigarettes, sugary drinks and salt have been targeted for reduction or removal because of their effects on public health.

The American people love their sugary drinks. Although it is known to be one of the main contributors to obesity, we just can’t get enough of it. So it is no surprise that there was an outcry when Bloomberg proposed to ban the sale of large sugary drinks. He had hoped for a ban on 20 ounce cups and 2-Liter bottles of soda. However, an NYC judge struck it down a day before it was scheduled to go into effect.

According to ThinkProgress.com, sugary drinks have contributed to 180,000 deaths around the world.  But you know, we have rights. We can drink ourselves to death if we want to.

Bloomberg also urged food companies to reduce salt content in their products and it has proved to be effective. Twenty-one major food corporations have cut salt from their products, including Kraft and Goya. The salt affecting heart health is likely to be what is already in the food and not table salt. The changes in salt content really have no effect on the taste and can help lower cholesterol.

I actually applaud these major food companies, for once. Finally, an ethical decision in the people’s best interest. Those are few and far between. And note how it was not the general public’s decision. If it were, the odds of acceptance to this decrease I’m assuming would be a lot less out of fear that America’s favorite foods would taste different. Nevermind heart attacks and strokes, as long as my processed cheese is unaffected.

Now, Bloomberg is going after cigarettes. To dissuade teenagers from purchasing cigarettes, he hopes to raise the price to a minimum of $10.50. He recently announced that the new bill would disallow the display of tobacco products, making them less inviting to kids wishing to experiment. Out of sight out of mind, right?

Because of Bloomberg’s radical plans for health improvement, he has been criticized for being overprotective and overinvolved in the public’s health. I can obviously see where the problem is … nobody wants his or her personal freedoms tampered with. Force may not be the most popular method of direction either.

Can we just step back and look at this argument here? I feel we have reached an all time low. Kicking and screaming because we want to drink as much soda as we want, put salt on everything, and be able to see our cigarettes in the case at the 7-11 before we die from them. All of these initiatives are so miniscule they are hardly worth talking about.

I can see why people are upset though. It’s not the decrease in soda or salt that has people up in arms, it’s the bigger picture. It’s the government telling us what we can and cannot do.

Force was definitely not the right way about going this but I can see why it was an option… We can be very stubborn and irrational when it comes to our food and tobacco.
It is sad to say that we have put profit before public health once again. We are awful at taking care of ourselves and something needs to be done to combat sky-high disease rates. As a country we favor immediate gratification over long-term effects of poor health practices and it takes its toll on us for sure.

While Bloomberg’s actions were extreme, I’m not upset about them. I don’t applaud him for these actions but I do not condemn him either. We don’t need big sodas, more salt and cheap tobacco. We don’t need another generation of unhealthy Americans. Wake up America, you’re fighting for the freedom to slowly but surely poison yourselves.