EUCAM - European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing

Government advisers support ban on all alcohol ads

3 June 2010

 Government advisers support ban on all alcohol ads The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (Nice) has said the government should consider a complete ban on alcohol advertising in order to stop underage and binge drinking.

Nice, which also called for a minimum price to be imposed on alcoholic drinks, has issued a 91-page document which claims that one in four adults in England is drinking what it deemed a "dangerous amount of alcohol", which it says costs the NHS about £2.7bn a year.

The report suggests a number of changes to marketing legislation, which it claims could stem alcohol abuse.

The report says: "There is evidence that alcohol advertising does affect children and young people."

One of its proposals is a "complete alcohol advertising ban to protect children and young people from exposure to alcohol advertising".

The report goes on to propose a review of rules, suggesting that new limits are set by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to reduce the proportion of children exposed to alcohol, and ensure that all alcohol advertising "particularly when it involves new media and product placement, is covered by a stringent regulatory system".

However, the report does not acknowledge the degree of stringent legislation already in place, while the body representing the UK's major advertisers pointed out that Nice failed to consult widely with the industry when compiling its report.

Ian Twinn, director of public affairs at Isba, said: "During the process it failed to talk to the advertising industry as a whole. It is making claims that are not borne out by the facts."

Twinn noted that the UK was already home to rigorous rules governing advertising and that those applied to alcohol advertising were "particularly strict".

A spokesman for the ASA said: "The reassuring thing is that the vast majority of Nice's concerns are already covered [by existing regulation]."

Twinn said: "Banning advertising is not going to stop people from eating and drinking too much. We need to use advertising as a positive force." He cited the advertising of bodies such as the Portland Group and Drinkaware, which promoted responsible drinking.

The Nice report went on to say that bodies including the ASA and Ofcom should "keep the current regulatory structure under review".

A senior source from the ad industry described Nice as a pressure group and said it was acting outside its remit – Nice is the government's medicine advisory body – something it should probably avoid doing as the government looks to make public spending cuts.

The source said: "This is clearly a punt from health professionals who are puritans and who don't like drinking."

Source: Marketing Magazine

The advice of NICE follows after last year's call for an advertising ban by the UK Health Committee and the British Medical Association . However, these calls and a call by several MPs have been rejected by the UK government till this moment.

EUCAM news

RSS feed