Fact Check: Mike Bloomberg Falsely Claims People Lived Longer Because of Him

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 25: Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks as former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg (L)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

CLAIM: Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg claimed in the 2020 Democrat Debate in Charleston, South Carolina, that people lived longer because of him.

VERDICT: False. Bloomberg attempted to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces, built bike lanes to get people to exercise, increased cigarette taxes, and banned workplace smoking. Still, none of those public health-inspired initiatives made a meaningful dent in life expectancy among New York City residents.

A December 2013 report from Scientific American stated that between 2006 and 2010, life expectancy in New York City rose by three years, beating the national average of 1.7 years. However, this increase has little to do with Bloomberg’s public health policies that he implemented while in office.

Experts say the data on youth smoking is just on pace with the national average, giving credit to Bloomberg’s anti-smoking campaigns in 2003, when he increased cigarette taxes and banned smoking in offices, and in 2011, when he banned smoking in public parks and beaches.

A 2006 measure requiring New York City restaurants to list calorie counts received wide support among public health advocates, but studies showed that the measure had little effect on calorie consumption.

A state judge also struck down Bloomberg’s ban on sugary drinks above 16 ounces after public outcry. Although 60 percent of New York City residents supported a smoking ban when it passed, the same percentage opposed a soda ban.

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