Alcohol advertising row erupts

The row between advertising and health lobbyists over alcohol advertising rules erupted once more over the weekend after a medical expert group revealed it is pushing for a ban on sporting and music event sponsorship by alcohol brands.

Drinking

Doctors and charity groups are calling for UK alcohol marketing rules to mirror the French system where it can’t be advertised if children make up a large proportion of an audience.

The French regulation has effectively banned alcohol sponsorship of sport and and music events, and removed alcohol from TV ad slots.

The Alcohol Health Alliance – which includes the British Medical Association and 8 royal colleges – made the call as part of its submission to the health select committee inquiry into the Government’s recently released alcohol strategy.

The Alliance’s claims that current regulations do not protect children and encourage harmful, early drinking, have been dismissed as “quackery’ by advertising body ISBA, which represents multiple alcohol companies including Bacardi Martini, Heineken and Anheuser-Busch Inbev UK.

ISBA says the health campaigners evidence, which includes an Ofcom study that claims that for approximately every five 24-year-olds seeing a TV alcohol ad, four 10 year olds saw the same spot, does not amount to “serious evidence” to support tougher regulation.

MPs will hear the final evidence session tomorrow (June 12) and expect to publish a verdict on the Government’s approach later in the year.

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