During the smoking ban in 2007, into the debut of plain packaging a decade after, everything has been done to dissuade individuals from taking up the habit.
And there are signs, sugar is heading the exact same way. Sugary drinks are already taxed – and a leading think tank has even suggested snacks, sweets and sugary drinks ought to be wrapped in plain packaging to make them appealing, given the surplus consumption of the sweet things.
IPPR manager Tom Kibasi believes it could make a real difference. “Plain packaging would help us to make better choices and reduce the hassle of pester power for busy parents,” he explained.
He wants to see it adopted alongside a range of different steps, including a ban on junk food advertisements.
That’s something which has been looked at by ministers. But would plain packaging become a step too far? Isn’t branding a “fundamental commercial liberty” and “critical to competition”.
The exact same type of arguments were put forward by the tobacco industry, but successive governments have increasingly shown an urge to get tough.
Interestingly, the government has not ruled out the concept of packaging for sugar products entirely.
Rather, the Department of Health and Social Care is saying it is waiting to hear what England’s chief medical officer,” Prof Dame Sally Davies, has to say. Why? There is a recognition that motions are needed if the ambition to halve the kid obesity rate is to be achieved by end of 2030.
Dame Sally has been requested to review the measures that are being taken to make sure no stone is left unturned.
Actually, she has already suggested that another measure spanned from the IPPR – expanding the taxation on carbonated beverages to other unhealthy foods – is a true option. And she is said to be receptive to the idea of plain packaging, and of course could be a much more radical measure.
But what’s clear from the last decade is that the improbable will become probable. Time after time, the government poured cold water on the move.
But things are slowly changing from the time Patricia Hewitt became health secretary, reason: more radical measures. The approach appears to be working – smoking rates have dropped by a third in just over a decade.
A number of the charge is obviously due to the increase of vaping as an alternative. But hard public health strategies don’t have any doubt played some part.
Evidence from Australia – I is the very first nation to emphasize and introduce plain packaging for tobacco and tobacco based products – It is anticipated we could see a subsequent reduction in smoking from this move.
As the debate keeps getting ugly about obesity, It won’t be unfair to expect to hear much more about the merits of radical action on sugar.
Source & Credit: BBC