New research released today suggests that the Great British public want to see the Government do more to protect children’s exposure to alcohol advertising.
Newly published findings from YouGov asked the public whether they would support measures to limit the exposure of children and young people to alcohol advertising.
The poll of more than 12,000 Brits found:
- 77% of Brits support controls to limit the exposure of children and young people to alcohol advertising
- 70% of people support stopping alcohol adverts from being shown on TV before 9pm
- 72% of people support only allowing alcohol advertising in cinemas for films with an 18 certificate
- 57% of people support not allowing alcohol advertising in outdoor and public spaces such as streets, parks and public transport
In June the Government announced plans to stop junk food advertising online and before 9pm on television from 2023, but alcohol products are not covered by these controls.
Alcohol use is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15 to 49-year-olds worldwide and yet little has been done to limit its promotion.
Advertising serves as a way to normalise alcohol consumption and have it seen as part of everyday life from a young age. Research has found that 82% of young people recalled seeing at least one form of alcohol marketing in the last month.
Research has consistently shown that alcohol marketing is causally linked to alcohol use among young people, including starting to drink at an earlier age or engaging in riskier consumption.
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, said: “We are constantly bombarded with alcohol advertising both online and in the real world – and so are our children. Studies show that the more young people are exposed to alcohol marketing, the more likely they are to start drinking at an earlier age.
“The Government has taken a great step forward for public health by stopping junk food advertising online and introducing other limits to its promotion. If alcohol is not included in those plans, we risk alcohol advertising filling the void that is left behind. The public want to see more done to limit young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising. The Government must now introduce comprehensive marketing restrictions in both real world and digital spaces to ensure that children are protected from alcohol advertising and its harm.”
Dr Nathan Critchlow, Academic Fellow at the Institute for Social Marketing and Health at Stirling University, said: “Alcohol marketing regulation is an important topic of debate, both in the UK and internationally. Several countries in Europe already have strict controls on where alcohol can be advertised and what advertising is allowed to say, while Ireland are in the process of implementing a range of new restrictions and the Scottish Government plan to consult on whether to introduce new controls. Although tobacco and alcohol are not identical products, the impact of various UK Government restrictions on tobacco marketing on youth smoking rates are plain to see, so it is logical that restrictions on alcohol marketing may be similarly effective.”
Richard McVey, Head of Services at Aquarius, a charity which provides specialist services to children and young people who use alcohol and other drugs, said: “As a charity who provide specialist support to alcohol users and their families, Aquarius welcomes the Alcohol Health Alliance’s calls to introduce restrictions for alcohol marketing.
“Advertising is a major contributor to alcohol’s prevalence in our society and we see images of alcohol wherever we go. Limits on the marketing of alcohol are part of a preventative approach to reducing the harms of alcohol and can help prevent young people’s relationship with alcohol being influenced by advertising.”
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 All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The YouGov survey was conducted on behalf of Action on Smoking and Health. Total sample size was 12247 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18/02/2021 – 18/03/2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
 World Health Organization https://www.who.int/health-topics/alcohol#tab=tab_1
 Critchlow N, MacKintosh AM, Thomas C, et al Awareness of alcohol marketing, ownership of alcohol branded merchandise, and the association with alcohol consumption, higher-risk drinking, and drinking susceptibility in adolescents and young adults: a cross-sectional survey in the UK BMJ Open https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/3/e025297
 Jernigan D, Noel J, et al Alcohol marketing and youth alcohol consumption: a systematic review of longitudinal studies published since 2008 Addiction – Wiley Online Library https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/add.13591