Singapore announced plans to ban ads for unhealthy sugary drinks, becoming the first country in the world to do so. The ban is part of the nation-state’s campaign to combat rising diabetes rates, the health ministry said.
Products deemed "less healthy" must now also display labels grading their nutritional and sugar content, with those considered to be most unhealthy banned from appearing in advertisements 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.
It added that the measures were only a start and it will continue to explore the possibility of a sugar tax or ban.
"We urge sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) manufacturers to consider reformulating their drinks to contain less sugar even as we further study these measures," the ministry said.
They will also obtain industry feedback in the coming months on how to implement the measures and announce more details next year.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, 13.7 per cent of adults in Singapore suffer from diabetes, one of the highest rates among developed nations.
Some 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.