Singapore Will Become World’s First Country To Ban Ads on High-Sugar Drinks

  • Singapore will soon become the first country to ban ads on sugar-laden drinks
  • This measure aims to combat the diabetes problem in the city-state
  • Banning ads on sugary drinks is one of the four measures proposed by Singapore’s Ministry of Health

In an effort to curb the high consumption of sugary drinks and consequently avoid diabetes, Singapore will soon become the world’s first country to prohibit advertising of sugar-lade beverages. This means all media platforms – may it be print, online or broadcasting – advertising beverages like instant coffee, soft drinks, yogurt drinks, and juices, will be banned.

The country is serious with its “war on diabetes,” imposing the ban on “the least healthy” sugary drinks, according to Edwin Tong, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Health. Apart from the ban, the ministry said that sugary drinks should be color-coded nutrition label that displays the product’s sugar content.

The decision to ban ads on sugary drinks was made after consulting the public through a survey.

The color-coding on those drinks will indicate how healthy a drink is – whether it’s healthy, neutral or unhealthy. Also, the label should show the drink’s sugar level and the sugar percentage-ratio in a beverage.

Tong said that the ban on sugary drinks aims to reduce the influence advertising has on consumer decision, encourage informed choices and to urge manufacturers to do something about the high sugar content in their drinks.

Singapore has been experiencing a problem with diabetes. In fact, it has become more problematic in recent years. Last year, the city-state did a survey, which revealed that the average daily consumption of sugar among Singaporeans is 12 teaspoons or 60g. More than half of this came from sugar-laden drinks.

The advertising ban is just one of the four measures proposed to combat high sugar consumption.

Last December, the Ministry, along with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) had a public consultation on how sugar intake can be reduced. Aside from the advertising ban, there were three other measures proposed, namely: compulsory labels, sugar tax, and an outright ban of high-sugar beverages.

The Ministry is considering an increase in tax on sugary drinks and the outright ban, however, these measures still need to be studied carefully as the Ministry also wants them to be sustainable over the long-term.

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