Bloomberg On Soda Ban: 'We're Not Banning Anything'

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: We're not banning anything... Our job is to educate. It's the public's job to decide when they look on the grocery shelf or have the lever on a soda machine which thing to take, which product is in their interest. All we're trying to do is educate. Hopefully, if they understand that they would be better off with one product or another they'll make that intelligent choice.

DAVID GREGORY, NBC HOST: You could do ads for eduction. As the executive of New York City, you're telling people what they can and cannot do. Why is that government's job to do that?

MAYOR BLOOMBERG: We're not telling them at all. We're telling them what science says is in their interest or what isn't in their interest. We allow you to smoke, we just don't let you smoke where other people have to breathe the smoke that you're exhaling or comes from your cigarette. The same thing with obesity, which, incidentally, is a public interest, because we're going to spend five billion dollars treating people with obesity in our hospitals in New York City alone this year.

GREGORY: Where's the line? Where's it too far for government to go?

MAYOR BLOOMBERG: I do not think that we should ban most things. I do think that there are certain times we should infringe on your freedom and that is, for example, if you're drinking we shouldn't let you drive, because you'll kill somebody else. If you're carrying a gun we shouldn't let you on an airplane. There's a lot of things that we do. If there's asbestos in the classroom we should remove the kids from the classroom until you clean the air. But in terms of smoking, if you want to smoke, I think you have a right to do so. I would protect that. If you want to own a gun, I certainly think that it's constitutionally protected. You certainly have a right to own a gun if you want. If you want to eat a lot and get fat, you have a right to do it, but our job in government is to inform...

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