The shocking advertising campaign launched by the Health Department in New York graphically warns that consuming super-sized carbonated soft drinks can lead to an amputation.
The graphic posters, featured in subway trains throughout the city, show a Type 2 diabetes sufferer with an amputated right leg sitting behind a chart showing how soda portions have ballooned over time.
The poster reads, Portions have grown. So has Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to amputations. Cut your portions. Cut your risk.
Do these tactics work? It’s hard to say, but warning labels on cigarettes do not appear to have had as big an impact on consumer habits as was hoped.
The US surgeon general's warning became mandatory on cigarette packaging way back in 1965, but while cigarette consumption in the US has dropped from about 42% of the population since the mid 1960s, it has remained at about 21% since 2003, despite federal and state excise tax increases that have boosted cigarette prices to more than $5 a pack.
New anti-cigarette advertising is now planned across the US from the autumn of 2012. The FDA will then begin requiring tobacco marketers to cover the top half of cigarette boxes and 20% of tobacco advertisements with nine bluntly graphic anti-smoking images.
The images represent the biggest change to cigarette warning labels since 1984, when the government began requiring cigarette packs and tobacco advertisements to carry several health warnings.
Will graphic images of corpses, cancer-ridden lungs and a guy exhaling smoke through a tracheotomy hole in his neck really help to stub out cigarette consumption?
Will a similar approach around obesity – and laying the blame at the door of CSDs and fast-food – work? I doubt it will be any more effective or fair than so-called soda taxes. What do you think?
Interview by Bill Bruce. Bill is group editorial director of FoodBev Media. You can contact him here.
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