EUCAM - European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing

Booze bear chasing our kids, says health lobby

7 November 2010

BOTTLE shops should be banned from operating near schools and alcohol advertising should be removed from public transport to prevent the liquor industry targeting children, public health campaigners say.

They says young people are bombarded with alcohol marketing in every area of their lives - even at the school gates, on transport home and while watching their sporting heroes.

The Australian Drug Foundation and the Public Health Association say the industry is using these tactics to get around restrictions on advertising to children on TV and radio. At a recent summit they cited examples including a bottle shop with billboards for discounted alcopops directly opposite a high school, and a NSW pub crawl bus branded with the Bundy rum bear that doubles as a school bus for year 4.
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A Johnnie Walker online competition inviting visitors to choose their Australian cricket dream team had no age restrictions despite the whisky's brand being prominently displayed.

The Australian Drug Foundation's policy director, Geoff Munro, said tougher legislation would minimise young people's exposure to alcohol advertising.

''It's entirely feasible to have a law that says alcohol cannot be advertised on public transport … [and] prohibit the establishment of alcohol outlets close to schools,'' Mr Munro said.

The groups also want a crackdown on viral campaigns, online competitions and slick branding, which they say are all designed to entice young drinkers. An exemption that grants permission for alcohol advertising during daytime sports telecasts should also be removed.

Stephen Riden, of the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia, said that the same groups calling for tighter restrictions had sworn that the alcopops tax would deter under-age drinking, but it had not.

''There is a very deliberate campaign to denormalise and then stigmatise any level of alcohol consumption, not just its abuse, following the model successfully used against tobacco,'' he said.


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