France bans unlimited soda refills

France’s latest attack on obesity

Jessica Lu

More stories from Jessica Lu

Kyra Fales, 12
April 12, 2019

MCT Campus

FIZZED OUT. France bans the sale of unlimited soft drink refills at a fixed price. Beverages with added sugars and sweeteners such as sports drinks will also be affected. The law is expected to impact restaurants that have soda fountains.

There is no doubt that soda can have detrimental effects on one’s health. As the Harvard T.H. Chan fact sheet points out, the rise in consumption of the sugary drinks directly correlates with the US’s rising obesity epidemic.

From banning of vending machines in school to restricting the serving of french fries to the soda tax, France has been proactive in its attempts to curb obesity. As of January 27, 2017, the French government implemented its newest exploit—banning free refills for soft drinks.

“I understand why France did what they did. For me at least, having a refill is too much,” said Rachel Long, 10.

France’s latest restriction follows the advice given by the World Health Organization, which praises the health benefits of enacting fiscal policies against soda. As the consumption of soda decreases, the level of sugar intake would follow, lessening the risk of obesity. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan fact sheet, sugary drinks such as soda and sports drinks account for about 226 calories per day in teens’ diets.

“Most people have low self control, so sometimes it’s up to the government to look out for its people in terms of health. I think the ban is an effective policy to watch out for the people,” said Teddy Weng, 10.

Currently, France has a below average percentage of obese adults. The country is at 15.3 percent compared to the European Union’s average of 15.9 percent, according to Eurostat. While these numbers are on the lower end of the spectrum, especially in light of the 36.5 percent in the U.S., France remains adamant about their taking of preventive measures against obesity and diabetes.

A few of US cities have taken actions similar to France by adopting a soda tax. The cities that have implemented a soda tax or will in the future include Philadelphia, San Francisco, Oakland, Albany (CA), Boulder, and Cooks County. However, a complete ban on refills does not seem likely to occur.

“I believe [a ban] will help citizens become healthier, but I have to say I do enjoy the concept of free refills,” said Laura Mihlbachler, 10.