Friday, 1 March 2013

Alcohol advertising

I've written a short article for the IEA about the proposed ban on alcohol advertising...

An editorial published in the British Medical Journal today calls for ‘a complete ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship’. The authors cite concerns about underage drinking as justification for a blanket ban and claim that a 2012 RAND report ‘confirms that such a step is long overdue’. In fact, the RAND report makes no such recommendation and Britain already has one of the world's most restricted marketplaces for alcohol advertising.

The headline of the BMJ editorial refers to the drinks industry ‘grooming the next generation’ - a distasteful attempt to draw a parallel with paedophilia - and much of the text is devoted to online marketing. The internet has, of course, created new regulatory challenges as well as new commercial opportunities, but there is no evidence that online marketing has led to a surge in underage drinking. Quite the reverse. Regular alcohol consumption by 11 to 15 year olds has fallen by two-thirds in the last decade - from 20% to 7% - and the proportion of these children who had ever drunk alcohol fell from 61% to 45% in the same period.

Do go read the rest...


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