Controls on alcohol marketing ineffective, warns public health experts

Controls on alcohol marketing ineffective, warns public health experts

London (ISJ) ? Public health experts world over, have warned, the current controls on extensive alcohol marketing are ineffective to block drinking habits among the youth.

Alcohol is the leading cause of death and disability among young males aged 15-24, in nearly every region of the world, and young females of the same age in the wealthy countries and the Americas.

Experts called upon governments around the world to renew their efforts to address the problem by strengthening statutory controls over alcohol marketing. The call coincides with the publication of a series of reports in a supplement to the scientific journal Addiction that presents the latest evidence on alcohol marketing and its impact on children.

The Addiction supplement comprises 14 papers, with research presented from around the world.

[caption id="attachment_2549" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Key Findings - Alcohol Marketing and its impact on children Key Findings - Alcohol Marketing and its impact on children[/caption]

"Governments are responsible for the health of their citizens.� No other legal product with such potential for harm is as widely promoted and advertised in the world as alcohol. These papers provide a wealth of information to support governments in their efforts to protect children and other vulnerable populations from exposure to alcohol marketing," said lead Editor Professor Thomas Babor of the University of Connecticut.

Chris Brookes of the UK Health Forum noted, "Governments have previously approved self-regulatory measures on alcohol advertising; however, we can no longer say that they might work to protect our young people - they don't. In a literature review of more than 100 studies, none was identified that supported the effectiveness of industry self-regulation programmes."

The papers offer guidelines to developing more effective alcohol marketing regulations:

  • The most effective response to alcohol marketing is likely to be a comprehensive ban on alcohol advertising, promotion and sponsorship, in accordance with each country's constitution or constitutional principles.

  • Regulations should be statutory, and enforced by an appropriate public health agency of the local or national government, not by the alcohol industry.

  • Regulations should be independent of the alcohol industry, whose primary interest lies in growing its markets and maximizing profits.

  • A global agreement on the marketing of alcoholic beverages would support country efforts to move towards a comprehensive ban on alcohol advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

  • Collaboration with other population-level efforts to restrict marketing of potentially harmful products, such as ultra-processed food, sugary beverages, tobacco, and breast-milk substitutes, should be encouraged and supported.

Source: Population Health Foundation of India

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