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VOICES / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES | Youth Platform

No Soda? No Way!

November 21, 1998

Last month, the Center for Science in the Public Interest called for a ban on the sale of soft drinks in public schools. The CSPI warned of the dangerous frequency with which teenagers swill soda. Carbonated beverages account for between 20% and 40% of some teen's daily caloric intake and children now drink more soda than milk, according to the group.

Alleging a link between soda consumption and such health problems as obesity, kidney stones and heart disease, the group also called for a tax on soft drinks and an end to soda ads that target young people. RACHEL FISCHER asked local teens about the possibility of a soda-free campus.

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LAVANCE MORRIS

15, sophomore at Hamilton High School

Take out the soda machines? No way! If they take sodas away from us, everybody's going to be all droopy, no sugar rush or anything. Sodas might make you fat in the long run, but a lot of kids don't care.

They shouldn't take sodas out of school. I'm drinking one right now. Oh, I'll have four to five in one school day.

I know all the locations of the soda machines on campus. My dad drinks Sprite all the time, so it's a habit with my family.

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ANGELICA SAZO

13, freshman, Palisades Charter High School

Banning soda wouldn't be fair to most students, because a lot of them drink two a day. The machines are pretty much everywhere in the school. There's not only soda being offered, though. I get a Powerade (sports drink) every day. I have to have one.

If soda is banned, then kids will only want it more. Plus at our school, you can easily go to a nearby mart to get soda.

I don't see too many people at our school drinking water. They should let teens be more aware of tooth decay and whatever, but if they still want to drink soda, they should be able to. Educate them more about it and maybe they'll cut down to just one a day. If they got serious about pulling out the soda machines, students would probably protest and have petitions and stuff. As far as stuff that's healthy, we have a fruit machine at school--but I never see anybody there. Not too many people would go and get an apple.

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GABRIELLA KASHANI

16, sophomore, Beverly Hills High School

We probably have five soda machines on campus here. I don't drink soft drinks; I just get water. But some people here really enjoy drinking Cokes after sports or after class.

So I kind of do agree with the idea of a soda ban on campus; maybe just sell water or Gatorade.

Everywhere I go in the halls, people are drinking soft drinks. It's not good. I wouldn't mind a ban, but it would really affect others a lot. At lunch, most of my friends might have just one soda, but other people do take it to extremes. Some have as many as three in one lunch period or even between classes.

I was raised to drink water to quench my thirst. Sodas and caffeine may stunt your growth and cause pimples because of all the sugar. If it wasn't for my mom teaching me what's healthy, God knows what I'd eat.

If teens want to bring soda from home, that's OK. At least the school wouldn't be encouraging them to drink it.

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DANTE JACKSON

17, senior, Santa Monica High School

Idon't think they sell enough water on the Santa Monica High campus. They do sell a lot of soda, but I haven't seen the effects of it. I seriously don't see anything wrong with selling soda on campus; it's just like selling pizza or any type of food.

I don't drink it myself because I play a sport. But I used to. I wrestle and the coach said that soda cuts back on your endurance. Soda didn't have any effect on me; it didn't make me gain weight or rot my teeth, so I don't see where this concern is coming from.

I don't think it's the government's place to step in and try to regulate what everyone is drinking because a few kids are irresponsible. Just because someone doesn't brush his teeth or try to stay fit on his own, that shouldn't be the fault of everybody else.

It's soda; it's not that big of a deal. I'm about to vote; if I can't decide what I want to eat for lunch, how can I be ready to decide who I want in the government?

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