Children exposed to drinks adverts in World Cup - Alcohol Concern

Children exposed to drinks adverts in World Cup - Alcohol Concern

Drinks industry leaders have rejected fresh calls from health campaigners for a watershed on alcohol advertising in order to protect children.

The Alcohol Concern charity has repeated its call for a ban on televised adverts for alcoholic drinks before 21:00 in the UK. Its fresh recommendation follows a report, commissioned by the charity, that shows 1.5m children were exposed to alcohol adverts during televised England football matches in last summer's FIFA World Cup.

Although Alcohol Concern conceded that the adverts were "deemed within advertising regulations", it said that the rules should be changed. The charity has also called for a ban on alcohol advertising in sport and music, as well as on the internet. It claimed that under-18s see an average of four alcohol adverts per day.

"It is simply unacceptable that vast numbers of children are so frequently exposed to alcohol advertising, leading to higher levels of drinking among young people and increasingly higher levels of harm," said Alcohol Concern's CEO, Don Shenker, citing recent research. 

Drinks industry leaders rejected Shenker's argument. "Alcohol Concern's claim that advertising of alcohol drinks leads to higher levels of drinking among under 18's is not supported by the evidence," said the CEO of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, Jeremy Beadles.

"In fact a recently concluded study led by Professor Gerard Hastings of Stirling University, a staunch critic of alcohol advertising, found no association between awareness of alcohol marketing at age 13 and either the onset of drinking or the amount consumed two years later.

"We believe culture change is more likely to be achieved through long term education and tough enforcement," he said today (19 October).