Singapore (VNA) - Singapore will become the first country in the world to ban advertisements of packaged drinks with very high sugar content, announced Senior Minister of State for Health Edwin Tong on October 10.

Accordingly, drinks with medium-to-high sugar content will be forced to carry a label on the front of the pack to warn consumers. The front-of-pack label will be colour-coded and show a grade to indicate if the drink is healthy, neutral or unhealthy.

Tong said these changes are designed to encourage people to make more informed choices and to get manufacturers to reduce the sugar content in packaged sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).

The move is among the country’s efforts to fight diabetes, its current pressing health issue.

In December 2018, the Singaporean Ministry of Health and the Health Promotion Board began eight weeks of public consultation on how to reduce sugar intake in the country. Four measures were proposed – mandatory front-of-pack label, regulation on advertising, a sugar tax, and a ban on high-sugar prepackaged beverages.

The use of a compulsory label received the highest support, with 84 percent of the more than 4,000 respondents in favour of it.

Tong said Singaporean agencies will continue study an excise duty or a ban on higher-sugar SSBs.

Most of makers of medium-to-high sugar content drinks have not supported the government’s exhortations to reduce sugar content. High-sugar drinks are popular in Singapore, accounting for half of all sugar-sweetened beverages sold here./.