Viewpoint: Should alcohol advertising to young people be better regulated?

The charity, Alcohol Concern, has called for new rules on alcohol advertising to protect children and young people from what it describes as “excessive” exposure. It is calling for new rules on what alcohol adverts can mention and it also wants them banned in film trailers.

Dr Abi Rose is a researcher in alcohol addiction in the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society:

“Prevalent alcohol advertising may help to normalise drinking behaviour; if children believe drinking is normal they may be more likely to try alcohol which can then develop into regular drinking.

Advertising exists to promote brand awareness and loyalty; it encourages the viewer, whoever they may be, to pick a particular product.

Research shows that the amount of alcohol advertising positively correlates with intentions to drink, initiation of drinking, and heavier drinking habits in adolescents.

Given that research often shows that advertising can have an impact on young peoples’ drinking habits, it is important that we minimise potential exposure to such advertising.

Statistics on Alcohol

“In terms of young people’s drinking, the 2013 report, Statistics on Alcohol: England, stated that 74% of 15 years olds have consumed alcohol at least once, while 1% of 11 year olds to 28% of 15 year olds consumed alcohol in the past week. Average weekly consumption across 11-15 year olds was 10.4 units (weekly Government guidelines for adults are ≤14 (women) and ≤21 (men) units).

Although average consumption in young people appears to have stabilised over the past few years, there are concerning statistics of a 117% increase in alcohol-related liver disease in young people (≤30 years old) in England since 2002/3. Liver disease can often take years to develop so this statistic suggests that at least a proportion of young people are drinking hazardously and are at risk of life threatening illnesses.

Given these health concerns and the associated costs to the NHS, any initiative which will reduce drinking in young people is something the Government should consider seriously.”

BBC News: Ban alcohol adverts at music and sport events, says charity.



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