The BBC has run a little article asking various people "how to curb obesity". Predictably enough, the British Medical Association wants to reach for the statute book:
Prof Sheila Hollins, chairwoman of the British Medical Association's Board of Science, says a complete ban on advertising junk food would make a real difference.
"Environmental factors, including the promotion of unhealthy food and poor infrastructure for active means of travel, have had a negative impact on people's eating habits and activity levels and have exacerbated the UK's obesity problem.
"With an alarming rise in the levels of obesity among children, the BMA is urging the government to introduce a complete ban on the advertising and marketing of unhealthy foodstuffs".
This is all very strange because I seem to recall them promising us that there would be no "slippery slope" that led from banning tobacco advertising to banning advertising of other products. In 1985, for example, the BMA published a pamphlet calling for a complete ban on tobacco advertising, which explicitly described the slippery slope argument as a "deception":
The 'thin end of the wedge...'?
A further deception is the industry's appeal: "Where will they stop?" The industry argues that if advertising is stopped because tobacco is dangerous, then advertising for cars, motor cycles, alcohol, sugar, aircraft travel and any other potentially dangerous product could also be banned.
All of these products can endanger health, but they are dangerous only when abused. Tobacco is the only advertised product which is hazardous when used as intended.
With the BMA now demanding a total advertising ban not only on alcohol but also on a whole range of food, the author of this document must be feeling like a bit of a chump today.
So who was this propagandising plonker writing for the BMA back in 1985? Step forward, veteran prohibitionist "Simple" Simon Chapman...