Much has been made about the initiative that Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has signed up to which bans advertisements of burgers, sweets and ‘junk food’ on the Tube. The problem is, however, that you could still find yourself on the Underground sitting next to someone who is ramming obese-inducing unhealthy food down their throat. And much of it smells so bad, it makes you retch.
We all know that journeys on the Tube are a nightmare these days. There’s nothing worse than delayed journeys, cramped carriages and the increasing numbers of days lost due to unnecessary strike action. Junk food ads are probably the least of our problems.
But we also know that obesity and diabetes are major issues, which cause endless misery for the individuals who suffer from these conditions, and are a financial drain on scant National Health Service resources. Obesity and diabetes, of course, are linked to food and drinks with a heavy sugar content. So, banning ads for these products on the Tube seems a step in the right direction.
But the cynic in me thinks it’s all hype – how many of you have ever looked up at an advert on the Tube featuring a cheeseburger and felt compelled to visit your local chip shop for a greasy quick fix on the way home ? No many, I bet. And anyway, with most Tube carriages being absolutely stuffed like sardines, passengers hardly get the chance to view anything but armpits – unless you’re very tall, you won’t even get to see the ads in any case. So the mayor’s action is probably purely symbolic.
And also, if TfL and the Mayor’s Office were that bothered about obesity and diabetes, then why do we have all those small stores in station kiosks that sell many of the same products that are included in the advertising ban ? And finally, although passengers won’t be allowed to see these ads for so-called unhealthy food on the Tube, they will still be able to sit in a carriage and unmercifully scoff the very same food! Isn’t is about time food is banned on the Tube, especially the stinky stuff that makes life even more uncomfortable? Cigarettes are banned. Alcohol is banned. Food should be the next thing to go.