AHA supports calls to protect children from alcohol marketing

10 January 2017: Responding to calls today from leading public health experts for greater controls on alcohol marketing to protect children, and the publication of articles in the journal Addiction which outline the latest evidence on the impact of alcohol marketing on children, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA), said:

“It is clear that self-regulation is not working and we welcome calls for greater action from governments to protect children from exposure to alcohol marketing.

“We know that alcohol marketing contains content and messages that appeal to children, and that due to exposure to this advertising, children drink more, and start drinking at an earlier age.

“In addition, as outlined in Public Health England’s recent review of the effectiveness of alcohol policies, a study has shown that in the UK, 10-15 year olds are more likely to see certain TV alcohol adverts than adults. Public Health England’s review, which was published in the Lancet in December 2016, concluded that complete advertising bans are a highly effective and cost-effective approach to health improvement.

“In the long run, all advertising and sponsorship should be prohibited. In the short term, alcohol advertising should only be permitted in newspapers and other adult press, and the content of these adverts should be limited to factual information about brand, provenance and product strength.”

Paul Lincoln, Chief Executive of UK Health Forum, which is a member of the AHA, said:

“The articles published in the Addiction supplement show clearly and positively that alcohol marketing regulations are not protecting young people, those in recovery from alcohol dependence, and other vulnerable groups from the influence of alcohol marketing, and that alcohol marketing has a negative impact on the age of drinking initiation and subsequent drinking behaviours. Tighter alcohol marketing regulation in the UK, without industry involvement, is desirable, achievable and effective.”