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Court upholds ruling striking down NYC's ban on large sugary drinks

New York City Mayor Bloomberg's proposal to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces was ruled as an overreach of executive power by a New York appeals court. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

A New York appeals court has upheld a ruling striking down New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's latest health push: his controversial ban on large sugary drinks. 

The ban, which would have prohibited the sale of sodas and other sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces by restaurants and city eateries, was an illegal overreach of executive power, the state appeals court ruled Tuesday, upholding a lower court decision in March that struck down the law.

The law "violated the state principle of separation of powers," the First Department of the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division said in a unanimous decision.

A state supreme court justice in Manhattan had ruled the new regulation was "arbitrary and capricious" in March a day before the regulation was due to take effect, ruling it invalid after the American Beverage Association and other business groups sued New York City, challenging the ban. 

Bloomberg has been unwavering in his efforts to promote public health over the past decade — from banning trans fats to requiring chain restaurants to publicize calorie counts — and he vowed to fight on.

"Since New York City's ground-breaking limit on the portion size of sugary beverages was prevented from going into effect on March 12th, more than 2,000 New Yorkers have died from the effects of diabetes," Bloomberg said Tuesday in a statement.

"Today's decision is a temporary setback, and we plan to appeal this decision as we continue the fight against the obesity epidemic."

The American Beverage Association hailed the ruling Tuesday.

"We are pleased that the lower court's decision was upheld.  With this ruling behind us, we look forward to collaborating with city leaders on solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the people of New York City," said spokesman Christopher Gindlesperger in a statement.

Bloomberg has had mixed results with his health efforts. A recent study found displaying calorie counts don't necessarily encourage consumers to choose lower-calorie options.

Despite his 12-year mayoral term nearing an end, he continues to push his healthy agenda: Earlier this month, he signed an executive order requiring city agencies to promote the use of stairways over elevators.

And in April, Bloomberg tried to toughen the city's smoking laws by proposing the age limit for buying cigarettes be raised to 21, up from 18. The billionaire has donated $600 million of his own money to anti-smoking efforts around the world, according to The Associated Press. 

Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images file

A man gets a Double Gulp drink at a 7-11 on New York City's Upper East Side on March 11, the day that was supposed to be the last day New Yorkers were able to purchase super-sized sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts in New York City.

NBC's Isolde Raftery contributed to this report.