Alcohol needs to be included in advertising restrictions to protect children

18 March 2019: Responding to the Government’s consultation on further restrictions for advertising of high fat, salt and sugar foods to reduce childhood obesity launched today, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said:

We welcome the Government’s consultation on the restrictions for advertising of high fat, salt and sugar foods to reduce childhood obesity, but strongly believe that alcohol should be included in the restrictions in order to protect children from alcohol related harms. Alcohol marketing is all around us and the evidence shows that the more young people are exposed to alcohol marketing, the more likely they are to drink at an earlier age and drink more.

“Like high fat, salt and sugar foods, alcohol is harmful to children. The Chief Medical Officer recommends that an alcohol-free childhood is the healthiest and best option for young people and it is vital that people are aware of the risks children can face if they drink. Alcohol can damage children’s developing brains, liver, bones and hormones, affect their mood, their mental health and risk them falling behind at school. 

“Public Health England has reviewed evidence that shows the current regulatory framework for alcohol marketing is ineffective and fails to protect vulnerable groups. Alcohol marketing needs to be more independently regulated and taken out of the hands of the alcohol industry and its ‘self-policing’ model. 

“We’re urging the Government to include alcohol in the restrictions and to introduce tighter regulations on alcohol marketing for TV, radio, online, social media, and apps, including a watershed to protect children.”

The consultation can be found here.