Bill backs ban on TV alcohol advertising

Britain should follow France by banning alcohol advertising to children, a report says today.

A private member's Bill, to be put forward next week by the Liberal Democrat MP and family doctor Sarah Wollaston, will call on the Government to adapt French legislation introduced 20 years ago which allows alcohol advertising in media aimed at adults but not children.

The Bill would ban all alcohol advertising on television and in the cinema, except for 18-rated films, all sports sponsorship by alcohol firms and all advertising on social media such as Facebook and YouTube.

The Bill is modelled on a French measure called the Loi Evin, part of a drive to reduce alcohol abuse.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Professor Gerard Hastings of the Institute for Social Marketing at the University of Stirling and Nick Sheron, a liver specialist at the University of Southampton, say advertising is an important cause of Britain's drink-related problems.

"For every £1 spent advising young people about the downsides of drinking, several hundred pounds are spent encouraging them to drink more," they say.

They claim the French approach works "crisply and cleanly", unlike the "clumsily imposed self-regulatory codes" for UK advertisers.