Singaporewill become the first country in the world to ban ads for the most unhealthy sugary drinks in its latest move to combat rising diabetes rates, the health ministry said on Thursday, Reuters reported.
Products deemed “less healthy” must now display labels grading their nutritional and sugar content, with those considered to be most unhealthy banned from appearing in ads across all media platforms, including broadcast, print and online channels.
“This aims to reduce the influence of such advertisements on consumer preferences,” the ministry said, calling the ban a world-first.
According to Singaporean local media The Straits Times, drinks affected include those in bottles, cans and packs. It covers two- or three-in-one instant drinks, soft drinks, juices and cultured milk and yoghurt drink.
He told reporters at a press conference on Thursday that the decision was made after a "public consultation" in the form of a survey.
The ministry also says it will continue to gather consumer and industry feedback in the next few months, before announcing further details on its implementation next year.
Edwin Tong, Senior Minister of State for the city-state's Ministry of Health, told CNN, in addition to an ad ban, the ministry announced that sugary drinks would also be required to display a color-coded, front-of-pack nutrition label to list nutritional quality and sugar content.
Tong said the two measures were only the first steps in the city-state's efforts to combat diabetes. Two other proposals, including the possibility of introducing an excise duty or even an outright ban on high-sugar drinks, are still "on the agenda."
"We intend to study them more carefully," he added.
"We want to find measures that are sustainable in the long-term, that shape not just market consumption behavior but also on the supply side to drive reformulation."