• Transport of London Bans Junk Food Ads

    Junk food advertising will be banned on the entire Transport of London network starting February 25, 2019.  The mayor of London says the ban is necessary to tackle child obesity.  The advertising restrictions include the following:

    • advertisements that directly feature food and/or non-alcoholic drink considered to be high in fat, sugar and salt will not be permitted. Examples of products that would not be accepted are sugary drinks, cheeseburgers, chocolate bars and salted nuts, while unsalted nuts, raisins and sugar-free drinks would be accepted
    • a requirement for food and drink brands, restaurants, takeaways and ordering services to promote their healthier food and drink instead of just advertising their brand
    • incidental images, graphical representations and references to food and/or non-alcoholic drinks that promote the consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt will not be permitted
    • advertisements for food and non-alcoholic drink that are considered to be high in fat, salt, sugar may be considered for an exception by TfL if the advertiser can demonstrate, with appropriate evidence, that the product does not contribute to child obesity.

    The restrictions will apply across the the London subway, rail, bus and taxi system.

    Insider’s take:  Welcome to the nanny state.  Let’s hope this crazy idea doesn’t cross the ocean.  A ban on food which is high in fat, salt or sugar?    Where do you stop?  Do you prohibit advertising for dairy products or cheese or french pastries.  They are full of fat.  Alcohol is full of calories.  Why not outlaw restaurant ads?  The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that diners at full service restaurant consume just as many calories but more cholesterol and sodium than fast-food diners.

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    1. Hi Dave
      I appreciate American’s are in general very anti ‘big brother’, however i think you need to look at some facts that may be driving the decision Transport of London to banning junk food ads before jumping to the ‘Nanny State’ conclusion.
      Here is a good start:

      My wife is an actuary, & can send you many more time lapse maps that show the diabolical, horrifying spread of obesity both worldwide, & across the US by state & decade. Alarming does not even scratch the surface. Why? Massive promotion of fast food & carbonated sugar drinks.

      You cannot suggest that adult poor choices & child poor choices are the same. We all know that targeting ads at kids to promote unhealthy choices is insidious. It also leads to patterns of behaviour later in life that are extremely bad for long term health. The salt, sodium & sugar in junk food, candy & most carbonated drinks are off the charts. As we get older, we all know that anything in moderation is OK, & anything in excess is not. BTW, full service restaurants are not promoted as a daily meal choice.

      ‘Nanny State’ action against alcohol, tobacco & fast food products around the world should be targeted & supported by data. Transport of London have ample data & have made a choice based on positive social & community outcomes over profit.
      If you want an extreme response to advertising bans, come down to Australia & look at how tobacco is restricted – zero advertising anywhere. Even the F1 GP cars cannot have any reference to tobacco brands. Products are stored behind plain white doors at the sales outlet with no reference to tobacco being even available at that location. All products are plain wrapped with graphic images of the devastating health outcomes (that the community has to pay for in public health). Massive taxes = A$25+ per packet. Limit of duty free import upon arriving into Australia of one packet (not one carton). Locations you can smoke are very limited. Crazy stuff?? Smoking rates have plunged in Australia, & the public health system is billions of dollars better off, families are not destroyed, second hand smoke is extremely limited.

      Turning around the obesity epidemic takes a long series of small but targeted actions. This is super-tanker re-direction stuff.
      I applaud Transport of London for their very public, ethical stand, & by cranking on the wheel of the supertanker nice & hard.