Doctors Want to Ban TV Advertising for Alcohol
More than 30 leading medical bodies and charities are pushing the UK government to ban alcohol advertising on television and in sport. The group has asserted that alcohol advertising and marketing has become so pervasive that a full ban is the only way to protect children and teens.
They have recently submitted evidence to MPs which shows alcohol has become the leading cause of death amongst men aged 16 to 24. According to their research, drinking is responsible for a full 27% of deaths in this demographic.
Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), said, "We know that young people are heavily affected by advertising and marketing. The evidence shows that when children are exposed to adverts they tend to drink at an earlier age, to drink more, and are more likely to end up developing a problem with alcohol in later life."
Current regulations prevent advertising alcohol during programs with an audience that is predominantly children but there are no such regulations on any other programing. This means alcohol is still advertised during sitcoms, comedies and other TV shows that may have a large number of young viewers.
Sir Ian Gilmore said, "Britain's attitude to drink has changed dramatically, so that it has become all-pervasive, always available and constantly marketed. In terms of consumption, we need to change the norms, to get back to where we were 20 or 30 years ago."
To achieve this, the group of doctors are recommending a complete ban on all television advertising, coupled with rules preventing alcohol advertising or sponsorship at sporting events. They also suggest using the French model of banning any advertisements that may be shown to a significant portion of children or young people. This could include films, music festivals and other events. Currently laws similar to these are already in effect in Ireland and many medical professionals believe they are the best way to combat a culture of drinking.Continued on the next page