The Portman Group has unveiled fresh marketing rules preventing drinks companies from promoting 'slammers' in the UK.

The drinks trade body said yesterday (19 June) that the restrictions, which stop drinks producers urging people to drink rapidly or down drinks in one, will take effect from the beginning of next year.

The rules apply to all pre-packaged alcoholic drinks marketed in the UK, and follows a public consultation involving drinks companies, medics and alcohol charities on the group's code of practice on the naming, packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks.

"Downing drinks is potentially damaging because it can cause people quickly to get drunk," said David Poley, the Portman Group's chief executive. "In the end, only drinkers can control the way they drink. Producers want to promote responsible behaviour and not a drinking style which can be harmful."

The code covers a drink's name and packaging, press releases, websites, sponsorship, sampling, branded merchandise, advertorials and all other promotional material.

Earlier this month, the group confirmed that alcohol producers have agreed to pull their adverts from children's replica sports shirts in the UK. The move also takes effect from 1 January.