Having contributed to its consultation earlier this year, RSPH has warmly welcomed new rules announced by the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) banning the advertising of high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) food or drink products in non-broadcast media aimed at children. The rules will take effect on 1 July 2017 and will bring media including print, cinema, online and social in line with existing rules for TV.

The rules will apply to media targeted at under-16s, as well as other media where children make up more than 25% of the audience. HFSS products will also not be allowed to use characters or celebrities popular with children, but advertisers will be allowed to use these techniques to promote healthier options.

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive, RSPH, said: “Extending rules banning the advertising of unhealthy food and drink products to children to non-broadcast media is an important part of the jigsaw for tackling childhood obesity. With the time young people spend online having overtaken time spent watching TV, this represented a major loophole by which the food and drink industry could continue pushing unhealthy products to children, and we are very glad to see it closed.

“It is an important aspect of the new rules that they cover not just media defined as ‘children’s media’, but also media for which children make up a substantial proportion of the audience. We would now like to see this logic reflected in broadcast advertising too, by introducing a 9pm watershed for junk food adverts, since children watch many shows not defined as ‘children’s programming’ before this time.”