Bid to ban booze ads at events

Colin Shevills, Director of the North East Alcohol Office
Colin Shevills, Director of the North East Alcohol Office
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ALCOHOL campaigners are backing calls for a ban on booze ads at sporting events and concerts in a bid to cut underage drinking.

New research by Alcohol Concern supports changes to the way alcohol is advertised, which could lead to the introduction of a similar system to the one used in France, where rugby’s Heineken Cup is known as the H Cup.

The Stick to the Facts report also claims self-regulation is not working and high levels of brand recognition among children, increasing exposure to advertising and inappropriate content show the failings of the system.

Campaign group Balance’s director Colin Shevills said: “Government has a key role to play in helping parents protect their children from bombardment by advertising and marketing, which encourages them to drink at an earlier age and consume in greater quantities.

“We know that a majority of North Easterners feel the same way – half agree that alcohol advertising targets under 18s and seven in 10 support a ban on alcohol advertising on TV before 9pm.

“It’s no surprise that we’re seeing such levels of support in our region, where we have the highest rates of under 15s drinking and the highest rate of under 18s in specialist alcohol treatment in England – with more than 600 receiving help in 2010 to 2011.

“The Government already acknowledges the links between alcohol advertising and consumption, particularly in young people under 18.”

The report follows work by the Youth Alcohol Advertising Council, a group of young people who review alcohol advertising and make complaints when they feel content is irresponsible.

Alcohol Concern is making five recommendations, which would mean the promotion of “lifestyle” images or scenes which glamorise drinking would be banned.