UK: Doctors call for hardline stance on alcohol
A ban on alcohol advertising, shorter licensing hours, minimum prices and a tax on the industry to fund education on alcohol abuse are four key measures needed to tackle excess drinking in the UK, the British Medical Association (BMA) has said.
The hardline stance will be outlined by BMA members at today's (8 September) Royal Society of Medicine conference on alcohol and young people, and is a signal that the medical profession is ratcheting up the pressure on the drinks sector.
Drinks industry self-regulatory body The Portman Group hit back at the BMA, criticising its proposal for a ban on alcohol advertising as "counter-productive" and running contrary to evidence that advertising does not cause harmful drinking.
"The effectiveness of our regulatory work has been recognised by several independent and authoritative bodies," said Portman CEO David Poley.
"Despite this, doctors dismiss out of hand the strict controls. They criticise the system while failing in their duty to alert the [Portman Group's] Independent Complaints Panel to their marketing concerns."
The UK's Advertising Standards Authority reported today that 99% of alcoholic drinks adverts complied with the rules in a recent assessment.
Speakers at today's Royal Society conference will include Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians and leader of a broad network of doctors and campaign groups calling for tough Government action on alcohol.
Another of the speakers, Don Shenker, CEO of campaign group Alcohol Concern, is a strong advocate of minimum pricing.
All eyes will be on Scotland in the next few weeks, as the country's Parliament debates a proposal from the ruling Scottish National Party to introduce a minimum price per unit of alcohol in drinks.
To read the BMA's full report, click here.
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