A ban on the sweetened drinks was enacted in 2012 by Ken Ulman, the former HoCo executive who recently lost his bid for lieutenant governor. The measure prohibited sweetened drinks from being sold on county property or at county-sponsored events.
Kittleman, a Republican, believed the ban was an example of government overreach, and said he thinks educating people about health choices is a better strategy than taking the drinks off of menus.
“Better education is the key to dealing with this issue, not simple bans,” said Kittleman. “Intelligent choices on nutrition and dietary practices should be the goal of all citizens, especially of parents for their children.”
The ban was backed by the Horizon Foundation, which encouraged healthier choices through it’s Howard County Unsweetened campaign. One 2013 TV spot warned citizens, “Happiness doesn’t come in a red can. Obesity does.”
“We are disappointed that Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has chosen to repeal, without a thorough review process, the county’s nutritional standards that are helping to address the biggest public health threats we face in our community,” the Foundation said in a statement reacting to the decision. “While we appreciate County Executive Kittleman’s desire to address obesity and its related diseases, education alone — without other community and environmental changes — does not align with proven public health research.”
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