Top medic calls for alcohol ad ban

The incoming president of the Royal College of Physicians has called for a total ban on alcohol advertising – including sports sponsorship.

Professor Ian Gilmore says drastic action is needed to curb Britain’s binge-drinking culture.

Gilmore believes current rules which state that advertisements must not imply drinking will give someone social or sexual success have not worked.

Gilmore also criticises “irresponsible” supermarkets, which use discounted drink as loss leaders. He is calling on Britain to follow the French example of banning broadcast advertising of and sponsorship of sport.

He says: “We need a complete ban on alcohol advertising. We could do it in stages if they find that easier.”

However, a spokeswoman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, says sponsorship by the drinks industry is worth “many millions” to British sport and adds that the money is used to support youth and grassroots development programmes. She says there are no plans to impose greater restrictions on alcohol sponsorship of sports events.

An estimated £800m was spent on advertising alcohol and sponsorship deals in 2004.

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