Doctors urge total ban on alcohol adverts

There should be a total ban on alcohol advertising, including happy hours and sponsorship of music and sporting events, doctors' leaders said today.



Video: Call for ban on alcohol marketing



A tough package of measures is needed to "tackle the soaring cost of alcohol-related harm" in the UK, said a report from the British Medical Association (BMA).



Young people are particularly affected by such advertising, which encourages them to binge-drink and stock up on cheap alcopops, it said.



The BMA also renewed its calls for a minimum price to be set per unit of alcohol, for alcohol to be taxed at a higher rate than inflation and for a ban on two-for-one offers.



It follows a report last year from the union which said there should be a curb on the sale of cut-price alcohol, such as in supermarkets.



The latest study - Under The Influence - said alcohol consumption in the UK has "increased rapidly" in recent years among all age groups.



It blames advertising and heavy discounting, the availability of cheap alcohol and 24-hour licensing laws.



The report said: "The population is drinking in increasingly harmful ways and the result is a plethora of avoidable medical, psychological and social harm, damaged lives and early deaths.



"As consumption has increased, so the market for alcohol has grown.



"In 2007, sales (including supermarket, off-licence, restaurant and bar sales) were high enough to put virtually every British adult over Government guideline drinking levels.



"These sales are driven by vast promotional and marketing campaigns that dwarf health promotion efforts: the UK alcohol industry spends approximately £800 million each year encouraging consumption of its wares."



The report said current controls on promoting alcohol are "completely inadequate" because they are based on voluntary agreements with the industry and focus on their content, rather than the amount of alcohol advertising.



"Even in their control of content the rules are weak with, for example, prohibitions on advertising which associates drink with youth culture or sporting success sitting alongside alcohol sponsorship of iconic youth events like music festivals and premiership football."



Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the BMA, said the body was not "anti-alcohol" but doctors were right to focus on the health of their patients.



She added: "Over the centuries, alcohol has become established as the country's favourite drug.



"The reality is that young people are drinking more because the whole population is drinking more and our society is awash with pro-alcohol messaging and marketing.



"In treating this we need to look beyond young people and at society as a whole."



According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), alcohol is the leading risk factor for premature death and disability in developed countries after smoking and high blood pressure.



It is related to more than 60 medical conditions, costs the NHS millions of pounds every year and is linked to crime and domestic abuse, the report said.



Professor Gerard Hastings, who was an author on the study, said: "Given the alcohol industry spends £800 million a year in promoting alcohol in the UK, it is no surprise that we see it everywhere - on TV, in magazines, on billboards, as part of music festival or football sponsorship deals, on internet pop-ups and on social networking sites.



"Given adolescents often dislike the taste of alcohol, new products like alcopops and toffee vodka are developed and promoted as they have greater appeal to young people.



"All these promotional activities serve to normalise alcohol as an essential part of everyday life.



"It is no surprise that young people are drawn to alcohol."



Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: "There's no longer any doubt - the heavy marketing and promotion of alcohol, combined with low prices - are encouraging young people to drink at a level our health services are struggling to cope with."

Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

    Structured Finance

    Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

    SQL Server Developer

    £500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

    C#.NET Developer

    £600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff