The advertising sector is the main stay of the business world as it promotes sales and increases profits. Anything which is bought and sold on the market, i.e. commodities, can be advertised. Commodities in this sense include people, services and products one example of which is junk food. The growing popularity of junk food in the modern world cannot be denied but is it really necessary to promote something so harmful? The answer is no; banning the advertising of junk food and fast food is beneficial both for the individual and the state.
The main attraction of junk food is the carbohydrates, the fat and sugar content; it is comfort food, it is filling and it is cheap. This is hard to argue with but it doesn’t mean this food is healthy and has no long term drawbacks. Advertisements cannot be justified just because someone likes the taste of something. Lots of people like the taste of alcohol but advertising it is forbidden. Similarly, people enjoy smoking but the advertising of tobacco products is strictly forbidden. Junk food should be in the same category because it causes obesity, which in turn leads to heart disease, cancer and diabetes all of which are killers. Laws should be fair: if products that are harmful cannot be advertised this should include junk food too. Claiming that this law should not be applied to junk food because people like the taste or it is cheap makes no sense. People like the taste of a lot of harmful things and through more awareness; they can learn to eat a healthy diet without spending too much. Individuals make up society and what is bad for one, is bad for the other; the same is true here.
The promotion of junk food via advertisements and increase in obesity related illnesses, the big killers, affects society as a whole too since the health services have to deal with these people. The amount of money spent on treating people with heart or cardio vascular disease each year for example is phenomenal; plus, it is completely unnecessary. Putting junk food in the same category as cigarettes and alcohol will solve the problem by reducing sales and victims. As a result the money saved could be diverted to those who really need help through no fault of their own. It could be claimed that people should have the freedom to select what they want to eat and if they want to die young, that is their problem. However, in a democracy one person’s freedom is limited by another’s and if the diseases these people inevitably incur impact society as a whole, society has the right to say no.
In conclusion, no harmful substance should be advertised and this includes fast food, sugary drinks, sweets and the like. Public health is the governments concern, which gives them the right to ban the promotion of any product which is deemed harmful. In this respect, junk food is no different from alcohol or tobacco.