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Fat chance of ad ban working

So this week we learn that London mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed that ‘junk’ food advertising will be banned on public transport in the capital from next February, following a consultation earlier this year.

The ban on all adverts for food and non-alcoholic drinks high in fat, salt and/or sugar will cover the entire Transport for London (TfL) network, including London Underground, Overground, buses and bus shelters.

However, the Advertising Association’s chief executive Stephen Woodford has reportedly reacted cynically to the news, saying there is no clear evidence that such a ban would solve the problem.

And I’m inclined to agree.

After all, there is no getting away from the facts – and they are that children from deprived parts of London are far more likely to be obese than those in more affluent areas. In fact, the same holds true for the rest of the UK. Are advertisers on public transport responsible for this? I think not.

And what about the possibility of a rise in fare prices that may well ensue in order to make up for the lost advertising revenue?

Actually, thinking about it, maybe that’s all part of the mayor’s cunning plan.

Fares go up, the less well-off (and therefore those statistically more likely to be overweight) struggle to pay and, hey presto, Shanks’s pony soon becomes their new enforced mode of transport.

Whichever way you look at it, I think Mr Khan is clutching at straws (presumably not plastic ones) if he thinks banning junk food advertising on the TfL network is going to make an ounce of difference to the obesity crisis. Fat chance.

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