Vox Pop: Should alcohol adverts be banned on TV before 9pm?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Alcohol Concern has renewed calls for a pre-watershed ban after millions of children saw alcohol adverts during the World Cup.

YES - PROFESSOR SIR IAN GILMORE, chair, Alcohol Health Alliance UK

Currently, alcohol adverts are only banned during programmes where the vast majority of the audience are under 16. Yet as we know, millions of children regularly watch programmes aimed at adults. The problem is that children are receptive interpreters of media messages. Successive studies suggest that the volume of advertising to which they are exposed to affects both the age at which they start drinking and how much they then drink.

We have a consensus in this country that an alcohol-free childhood is beneficial to a young person's development. It's time the rules governing advertising caught up.

NO - JEREMY BEADLES, chief executive, The Wine and Spirit Trade Association

There is no proof that the advertising of alcoholic drinks leads to higher levels of drinking among under-18s.

A recent study led by Professor Gerard Hastings of Stirling University, a staunch critic of alcohol advertising, found no association between the awareness of alcohol marketing at age 13 and the onset of drinking.

The truth is that these restrictions would threaten the livelihoods of thousands of people, while doing nothing to address the root causes of alcohol misuse. We believe culture change is more likely to be achieved through long-term education and tough enforcement.

YES - DON SHENKER, chief executive, Alcohol Concern

The World Health Organisation's Charter on Alcohol states that children should be protected from the negative impact of alcohol and its promotion. In investigating how many alcohol adverts children are exposed to, we found some as young as 11- and 12-years-old were seeing up to 11 alcohol ads in one 24-hour period. The current regulations clearly do not go far enough and the resultant harms of childhood drinking should be a wake-up call to this government. If drinks companies are serious about protecting children they would sign up to ensure their adverts are restricted to adults only - a watershed ban would be a first step.

NO - DAVID POLEY, chief executive, The Portman Group

There is already a strict regulatory system for marketing alcohol in the UK to ensure it is responsible and aimed at adults. Advertising alcohol on TV is not allowed if the proportion of under-18s in the audience rises to a certain level. One cannot eliminate under-18s from the audience altogether however, without imposing a total ban.

There is very little evidence to suggest that children's exposure to alcohol marketing is associated with either the onset of drinking or the amount consumed, or indeed that an adult's exposure to adverts will encourage them to drink more. The current restrictions are effective and proportionate.

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