SINGAPORE: Advertising Restrictions Hard to Swallow

How much government really is too much?

Singapore plans to follow in the footsteps of the UK, South Korea, Denmark, and Finland to encourage healthy lifestyles for citizens by regulating advertisements for fast food, soda, and other food high in sugar, salt, and fat. At the recent launch of the annual National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong mentioned the changes and explained that a more detailed account of the advertising restrictions will be announced next month.

The city-state’s goal is to decrease advertisements for unhealthy food targeted toward children. Minister Gan stated that the regulations are necessary as study after study has shown a direct correlation between advertising and consumption.

The government’s campaign is clearly an attempt to stall the steadily increasing obesity rate of Singaporeans. But will a few changes in fast food and soda commercials change the world? Such regulations resemble those on tobacco products in the US. Is a Big Mac really as harmful as a cigarette? Perhaps consumers should have the freedom to let advertisers make their pitch and then make their own decision as to what they want to purchase.


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