MPs urge action on alcohol ads

Fresh calls for tighter curbs on alcohol ads including introduction of cigarette-style health warnings.

Pressure is mounting on the Government to introduce tighter curbs on alcohol advertising after 29 MPs signed a Commons motion calling for legislation to force drinks companies to include cigarette-style health warnings in their ads.

Gordon Brown responded to the demands, which also involve including advice on the recommended weekly intake for men and women in ads, by urging drinks companies to show restraint in their pre-Christmas advertising.

A Downing Street source said: "It's clear there are serious concerns about when alcohol is sold, how it is priced, how it is advertised and who it is sold to."

A separate motion calling for a 9pm watershed for alcohol ads on TV has been backed by 52 MPs from all parties. It also demands a ban on alcohol ads in cinemas before films with a certificate below 18.

Calls for a 9pm watershed were supported by two reports this week from the newly formed Alcohol Health Alliance of 24 organisations and from scientists on the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

Advertisers warned that such a ban would not work and said Britain already had the toughest alcohol ad rules in Europe. Ian Twinn, the director of public affairs at ISBA, said: "Restricting further the advertising of alcohol would see the viability of commercial television significantly undermined and the sponsorship deals behind the broadcasting of high-profile sporting events evaporate."

He added: "The very real problem with calls for bans and telling people what ads they are allowed to see is that this approach does not work."

Last week, Diageo launched its own £3 million ad campaign urging its young customers to drink responsibly.

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