Alcohol advertising ‘encouraging young people to drink from early age’
By Aine Fox, PA
More must be done to limit young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising, a campaign group has said, as a survey suggested more than three-quarters of adults would support such controls.
The Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) is urging the Government to bring in “comprehensive marketing restrictions” on and offline to protect children from the “harm” caused by drinks adverts.
A poll of more than 12,000 people across Great Britain earlier this year found that 77% support controls to limit the exposure of children and young people to alcohol advertising.
Seven in 10 support stopping alcohol adverts from being shown on television before 9pm, while 72% back only allowing alcohol advertising in cinemas for films with an 18 certificate, the survey found.
Just over half (57%) of those questioned said they would support not allowing alcohol advertising in outdoor and public spaces such as streets, parks and public transport.
In June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK has a “national struggle with obesity” as the Government announced heavier online restrictions and a 9pm television watershed for junk food ads.
But the AHA is calling for measures to go further and include alcohol advertising.
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, said: “We are constantly bombarded with alcohol advertising, both online and in the real world – and so are our children. Studies show that the more young people are exposed to alcohol marketing, the more likely they are to start drinking at an earlier age.
“The Government has taken a great step forward for public health by stopping junk food advertising online and introducing other limits to its promotion. If alcohol is not included in those plans, we risk alcohol advertising filling the void that is left behind.
“The public want to see more done to limit young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising. The Government must now introduce comprehensive marketing restrictions in both real world and digital spaces to ensure that children are protected from alcohol advertising and its harm.”
A Government spokesman said: “The Government is committed to ensuring children and young people are protected from inappropriate content and we continue to work with industry to address concerns over any irresponsible promotions, advertising and marketing relating to alcohol.
“The Advertising Standards Authority has a duty to take appropriate action if new evidence emerges that clearly highlights significant problems with alcohol advertising.
“The new Office for Health Promotion will drive our efforts to improve treatment and provide support on alcohol consumption, helping to ensure there are treatment services at a local and national level.”
– A total of 12,247 adults in England, Scotland and Wales were surveyed online in February and March this year.