The city of Portland has launched a public information campaign, and you don’t have to live in the Forest City to pay attention.

Through a series of print and television public service ads, the campaign “Pouring on the Pounds” deals with the dangers that come from too many sugary soft drinks in people’s diets and the long-term health problems like obesity and Type 2 diabetes that can result. Some of the information is staggering.

For instance, a 20-ounce soda has as much sugar as six scoops of ice cream. Sweet beverages, including fruit punch and sports drinks, account for 40 percent of the added sugar consumed in the country, more than any other food.

Children who become habituated to sweet drinks won’t try healthier choices like milk or water, potentially leading to lifelong health consequences.

Obesity is overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death, and leads to $350 million in medical costs each year in Maine.

Not surprisingly, this effort has attracted some push-back from the soft drink industry, which rightly points out that, unlike tobacco, its products can be used in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

They say the real culprit is total calories, and it doesn’t matter whether they come from a fizzy drink or a Cobb salad, because it is overeating that makes people fat, not the types of food that are overeaten.

But, as the campaign points out, soft drinks are particularly dangerous because they don’t satisfy the appetite the same way as other high-calorie foods.

People don’t count for the calories that they drink in the same way as the ones they eat, which can lead to more bad choices.

That’s why a public information campaign like this one is worthwhile. Portland is not trying to ban sweet drinks or subject them to a tax, as has been tried elsewhere.

It is doing exactly what government public health agencies should — keeping us informed about the potential dangers of products that are heavily marketed and readily available.

With Maine’s obesity problem (we are the fattest state in New England), this kind of information should be known by everyone, and the city is right to make it available.