The Government is considering new curbs on alcohol advertising -
including compulsory cigarette-style ’health warnings’ - in an attempt
to tackle excessive drinking by young people.
The Department of Health is consulting the drinks industry and pressure
groups about measures to combat under-age and teenage drinking. It will
set out a new strategy on alcohol abuse in the autumn.
Government sources revealed this week that the review will consider
proposals from the British Medical Association for health warnings to be
included on both labels and advertising. The association wants the
Advertising Standards Authority and Independent Television Commission to
take a tougher line on alcohol ads and is demanding more rigorous
controls over both cinema commercials and sports sponsorship.
’The BMA is particularly concerned about advertising which is targeted
at the young and which links alcohol with illicit drug use, by use of
symbols of youth culture,’ it said.
The organisation is also calling for the industry-funded Portman Group
to be replaced by an independent marketing regulator.
In order to give extra emphasis to its crackdown, the Government will
not include its plans in a public health White Paper to be published
this summer. Sources said that discussions were at an early stage.
Ministers are expected to demand tougher controls over ads aimed at
teenagers but may stop short of endorsing all the BMA’s demands, for
fear of being portrayed as ’anti-drinking’.
One ministerial source told Campaign: ’There is a difference between
tobacco and alcohol. If you use tobacco in accordance with the
manufacturer’s instructions, it will kill you. We want to focus on
alcohol abuse, not alcohol use.’