Poll: Most peo­ple sup­port ban on sug­ary drinks

The New Paper - - NEWS - NG HUI­WEN

As the author­i­ties mull over mea­sures to help peo­ple cut their sugar in­take, what do Sin­ga­pore­ans think is the best way to curb a sweet tooth?

An on­line poll of The Straits Times read­ers shows a to­tal ban on pre-packed high-sugar drinks was the top pick.

This is among four mea­sures mooted by the Health Min­istry and nearly 40 per cent (719 peo­ple) of about 1,900 peo­ple polled chose it.

The poll be­gan on Tues­day evening, af­ter the MOH and the Health Pro­mo­tion Board be­gan a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion ex­er­cise on ways to cur­tail the con­sump­tion of sug­ary drinks.

These in­clude three-in-one mixes, cor­dials, yo­gurt drinks, fruit juices and soft drinks.

These drinks ac­count for more than half the 12 tea­spoons of sugar that peo­ple here take each day on av­er­age.

And one in four pack­aged sweet­ened bev­er­ages con­tain 5.5 tea­spoons of sugar or more.

The poll shows the sec­ond most-pop­u­lar mea­sure is im­pos­ing manda­tory frontof-pack la­belling on high­sugar drinks.

As of 4pm yes­ter­day, 676 peo­ple be­lieved that is the way to go.

The third choice of in­tro­duc­ing a tax on sweet pre-packed drinks, which would pri­mar­ily af­fect man­u­fac­tur­ers and im­porters, was cho­sen by 310 peo­ple.

A tax could coax the in­dus­try to lower the sugar con­tent of prod­ucts, sim­i­lar to the ex­cise duty im­posed in Bri­tain, Mex­ico and some US cities, as well as in Brunei and Thai­land.

The least pop­u­lar op­tion, with 233 votes, is ban­ning ad­ver­tise­ments on all plat­forms, such as on buses or so­cial me­dia.

Ex­ist­ing guide­lines only limit ad­ver­tis­ing dur­ing spe­cific time pe­ri­ods on TV and me­dia channels.

Face­book user Travis Lin said con­sumer ed­u­ca­tion is key.

“Ed­u­cate peo­ple so that they can make in­formed de­ci­sions. I don’t drink any sug­ary drinks or even fruit juice. That’s my choice.”

Mr S. P. Low, an en­gi­neer­ing com­pany man­ager, said a to­tal ban on high-sugar drinks is “too ex­treme”.

Peo­ple should be given a choice of a range of drinks of var­i­ous sugar lev­els, added the 42-year-old.

“Ul­ti­mately, you should let the con­sumer choose what they want.”

The Health Min­istry said every 250ml of sugar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages con­sumed daily raises a per­son’s risk of get­ting di­a­betes by 18 per cent to 26 per cent.

nghui­[email protected]

PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

In­tro­duc­ing a tax on sweet pre-packed drinks was one of the less pop­u­lar op­tions.

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