Jan. 7, 2019 By Christian Murray
Sugary drinks like soda are no different than cigarettes, according to city health officials.
The NYC Department of Health launched a media campaign today that compares sugary drinks to cigarettes and tells viewers that soda and other sugary drinks can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cavities and weight gain.
“Like cigarettes, sugary drinks are bad for our health and can have long-term consequences,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Through this campaign, we hope all New Yorkers will understand that. We urge all New Yorkers to consume fewer sugary drinks, and parents should not give sugary drinks to their children.”
The campaign primarily targets kids, particularly black and Latino teens.
The department said that 42 percent of black high school students and 38 percent of Hispanic students drank at least one sugary drink per day in 2017. The percentage among whites and Asian high school students was less–at 26 percent and 21 percent respectively.
“Obesity, diabetes and heart disease are epidemic, and sugary beverages are a major factor,” said Assembly Member Richard Gottfried (D-Midtown Manhattan), chair of the Assembly Health Committee. “This is a public health crisis, like tobacco, and increasing public awareness about the risks makes sense, just like for tobacco.”
The campaign notes that that just one 20-ounce bottle of soda can include more than 70 grams of added sugar, which is more than 250 empty calories.
The department is telling the public to avoid soda, fruit drinks, sweetened ice tea, energy drinks and sports drinks. It is advising the public to drink water or seltzer.
The campaign will run through early February and will be in English and Spanish TV as well as on social media.