Health Department launches campaign comparing sugary drinks to cigarettes

NEW YORK — The Health Department launched a new campaign comparing sugary drinks to cigarettes, emphasizing both products are hazardous to your health.

The campaign reminds New Yorkers the negative impact of sugary drinks in hopes of reducing consumption.

“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, while sugary drinks may be sweet going down, their impact on our health is not. We urge all New Yorkers to consume fewer sugary drinks, and parents should not give sugary drinks to their children.”

Sugary drinks, which include soda, sweetened iced tea, energy drinks and sports drinks, can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cavities and weight gain.

In New York City, the overall consumption of sugary drinks has declined between 2007 and 2017 among adults, the Health Department reported.

According to studies, the rates of consumption are higher in communities of color, with the prevalence three to four times higher among black and Latino children than white children.

Officials have said sugary drinks are “just as bad as smoking cigarettes.”

“Both are harmful, resulting in poor health to those who take them. What more does it take to convince people that smoking can lead to cancer and that sugar calories bring on obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease? We need to do all we can to limit use of these products. This new city media campaign will help get the word out to avoid sugary drinks,” said Assistant Speaker Felix W. Ortiz.

The American Heart Association recommends kids ages 12 to 18 should have less than 25 grams or six teaspoons of added sugar daily for a health heart.

The Health Department issued the following tips to avoid sugary drinks:

  • Do not give sugary drinks to children.
  • Check labels for nutrition facts and avoid drinks with added sugars such as corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, honey and molasses.
  • Skip sports drinks and energy drinks.
  • Instead, try to drink water or seltzer and add fruits, vegetables or herbs for flavor.
  • Eat whole fruits instead of drinking juice
  • Ask for coffee or tea with no sugar.
  • If you have a sugary drink, choose a small size.
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