Consumption of soda varies across the country, with higher consumption in the South. Now is the time to act to reduce exposure to sugary drinks. There is growing public recognition that they are not healthy, and there is growing support for policy makers to act.
Everyone has a right to know how sugary drinks affect health. Warning labels are a low-cost, effective, and simple way to get the word out. Beverage companies spend close to a billion dollars every year to convince us, and especially our children, to drink these beverages. But they don’t warn us of the risks.
Requiring beverage companies to put a simple statement on cans, bottles, and dispensers of sugary drinks and on menus and ads that promote them, will alert consumers to the risks of consuming sugary drinks, and may discourage parents from buying them for their kids. Cities and states across the country are considering policies to require these warning labels at both state and local levels.
Why warning labels?
- Evidence suggests potential positive impact
- Consumers have the right to know
- Low cost
- Broad reach
- Adoption campaigns generate earned media
- Polling shows high levels of support
Everyone has a right to know how sugary drinks affect health. Beverage companies spend over a billion dollars every year to convince us, and especially our children, to drink their products. But they don’t warn us of the risks. A low-cost and simple way to do that is to require the companies to apply a warning label to cans, bottles, and dispensers of sugary drinks, and to the ads, both in stores and outdoors, that promote them. The label would have a simple message like the one pictured above.
Advocates believe a sugary drink warning label will help people reduce consumption of sugary drinks, based on evidence showing that tobacco warning labels have small but positive effects. Warnings on tobacco may increase the knowledge of health risks, prevent relapse, deter youth and adults from initiating smoking, deter smokers when they are about to light up, increase the attempts to quit, and reduce the appeal of the pack.
Like warning labels on cigarette packages, sugary drink warning labels can alert people to the risks of consuming the beverages, and may even discourage people from buying them. Preliminary studies, conducted through on-line surveys, suggest that warning labels might change people’s perceptions of the drinks and their interest in purchasing them. After seeing the warnings, both adolescent and adult study participants were more aware of the health risks associated with drinking them. Adolescents were also less likely to buy them, and the adults were less likely to buy them for their children.