New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg connected super-sized sugary drink and cigarettes as harmful products a day after an EthicsDaily.com editorial said the nation needed an obesity campaign akin to the health campaign waged against smoking.
"Obesity will kill more people than smoking in the next couple of years," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told ABC's Diane Sawyer.
The big difference was that the mayor of the Big Apple made the big three television nightly news programs, sparking a national conversation – a conversation in which smoking and obesity are linked.
"I think the big question tonight is 'Is sugar the new tobacco?' because scientists have said for a long time that sugar is addicting and should be regulated," said Nancy Snyderman, a medical doctor and NBC News Chief Medical Editor.
She told anchor Matt Lauer, "The question will be not only is it the new tobacco, but will other municipalities ... say 'You know what, controversial but brave and we're going to do the same thing.'"
On "ABC World News with Diane Sawyer," Bloomberg said, "In New York City, smoking deaths are down to 7,000 a year from something in the 20s. Obesity deaths are at 5,000 and skyrocketing."
He told Sawyer, "Obesity will kill more people than smoking in the next couple of years."
In 2003, Bloomberg led bans on smoking in restaurants and sugary drinks in public schools. In 2008, he led the charge banning trans-fats in restaurants.
A "CBS Evening News" story began, "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing a ban on soft drinks larger than 16 ounces. It was Bloomberg who got cigarettes banned in all buildings including bars and offices."
When "Today's" Matt Lauer cited the next day an overnight online poll in which respondents said the ban of big soda drinks would not work, Bloomberg replied, "Where did I hear this before? Wasn't it smoking wasn't going to work. Today it's one of the best things we've ever done. Deaths from smoking dramatically coming down across the country. Virtually every city has adopted smoking ordinances."
"The real difference, however, between smoking and full-sugared drinks or obesity, is that in the case of smoking, it's not clear that one cigarette doesn't cause cancer," said Bloomberg. "In the case of full-sugared drinks in moderation, it's fine."
Bloomberg proposal would ban super-large sugary-sodas sold in the city's movie theaters, restaurants and stadiums, affecting some 20,000 establishments, reported the New York Post.