Singapore will become the first country to stand against the advertisements of unhealthy sugar-based drinks. The move comes as the country struggles to fight diabetes rates, the Singapore Health Minister told media on Thursday.
The Health Minister also said that the products scientifically proved “less healthy” than others in the market must display labels grading their exact nutritional value and sugar content. Those products considered as the most unhealthy would be banned from advertising through all media channels (print, broadcasting, and online mediums). The Minister revealed his aim behind his recent decision, by saying that his main objective is to lower the influence of unhealthy products by banning its advertising to shape consumer preferences, claiming the ban a world-first.
The statement also added that ban on advertisements is just the small start towards its fight against diabetes. The Singaporean government would continue to explore more possibilities of imposing sugar taxes and bans on diabetes-causing products. It also said that the authorities urge SSB (sugar-sweetened beverages) manufacturers to consider reformulating their drinks to contain less sugar even as they further study these measures.
The Health Minister concluded by saying that his administration will obtain industry feedback in the upcoming months, to study the market in order to implement effective measures and will announce more details by the next year. According to recent reports released by the International Diabetes Federation, 13.7 per cent of adults in Singapore have diabetes, one of the highest rates among developed nations in the world.
Other marketing bans around the world have focused on restricting children's exposure to junk food ads. A study revealed that around 420 million people around the world today suffer from diabetes, with the number expected to rise to 629 million by 2045, according to the International Diabetes Federation.
(with inputs from PTI)