A campaign called Fizz Free February is encouraging people to cut out sugary drinks for the rest of the month. 

The campaign has received support from TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and politician Tom Watson.

Fizz Free February, which was started by Southwark Council in 2018, is now part of the national Sugar Smart UK campaign and councils from across the country are taking part.

Croydon councillor Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care, told residents: “Cutting out fizzy drinks is an easy way to reduce your sugar intake. It is also good for your pocket as you could save £438 annually if you stopped drinking a daily bottle of soft drink.

‘It is a real concern that 79% of fizzy drinks contain six or more teaspoons of sugar per can. Making a commitment to go fizz free for February will help you to develop new, healthier habits. It will also make it easier for you to cut down on fizzy drinks for the rest of the year.’

Develop new habits

The campaign is targeted particularly at young adults and children and aims to break the habitual consumption of drinks with added sugar, which can lead to obesity and tooth decay.

Other public figures to have signed up include the health secretary, Matt Hancock, and his Labour shadow, Jonathan Ashworth. Fizzy drinks are the largest single source of sugar for children aged 11-18, and they provide an average of 29% of daily sugar intake.

By committing to going fizz free for the entire month of February, supporters can develop new habits to make it easier to cut down on fizzy drinks for the rest of the year.

Support for the campaign

The British Dental Association  (BDA) has also lent its support to the campaign.

The BDA was a leading advocate of the sugar levy, and is pressing for greater action on advertising, marketing and price promotions. It backs universal and properly funded oral health prevention programmes in all UK nations.

BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said: ‘Prevention matters to us, because we see the damage fizzy drinks do every day. The sugar they are packed full of is a big contributor to the problem of obesity. But it is the single main cause of tooth decay.

‘The idea behind Fizz Free February couldn’t be simpler: simply encourage families to take a few weeks out from reaching for a can of pop. This idea may have started small over in Southwark, but we’re proud to help this campaign go national.

‘I know we’re up against it. While public health budgets have been savagely cut, the Coca Cola Company still spends about £4bn a year on marketing. But the sugar levy showed we can make real progress, when practitioners, politicians, and parents work together.’

The BDA have a poster which can be downloaded and displayed in your practice.