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“We’re looking at all of our beverages internally,” said Starbucks spokeswoman Linda Mills. “I think there will be a lot of subtleties to work out.”

Restaurants with self-serve soda fountains will be prohibited from giving out cups larger than 16 ounces, even for diet sodas, but people will still be allowed refills.

Pitchers of non-diet soda will become a thing of the past, even if they are being shared by many diners.

Barring any court action, the measure will take effect in March.

The restaurant and beverage industries complained that the city is exaggerating the role sugary beverages have played in making Americans fat. Soda, they said, is no more of a culprit than potato chips, or sweet deserts.

“This is a political solution and not a health solution,” said Eliot Hoff, a spokesman for an industry-sponsored group called New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, which claims to have gathered more than 250,000 signatures on petitions against the plan.

He said the group is considering suing to block the rule, but no immediate legal action was announced Thursday.

Asked whether he was concerned about “well-funded” opposition from an industry with deep pockets, Bloomberg, a billionaire emerging as a major philanthropist on public health issues, suggested he wouldn’t be outgunned.

“I don’t know it’s well-funded. I’ve just spent roughly $650 million of my own money to try to stop the scourge of tobacco, and I’m looking for another cause. How much were they spending, again?” he said.

The Board of Health approved the big-soda ban 8-0, with one member, Dr. Sixto Caro, abstaining. Caro, a doctor of internal medicine, said the plan wasn’t comprehensive enough.

Others spoke forcefully of the need for action to deal with an obesity crisis.

“I feel to not act would really be criminal,” said board member Susan Klitzman, director of the Urban Public Health Program at Hunter College.


Associated Press Writer Alex Katz contributed to this report.