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UK: Alcohol ad ban talk a 'waste of time' - Portman Group

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The Portman Group has argued it is a waste of time talking about blanket bans after a new report urged a shake-up of the rules around UK alcohol advertising. 

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In a report published today, charity Alcohol Concern calls for drinks companies to be banned from sponsoring all "sporting, cultural and music events".

The 'Stick to the Facts' study also urges new rules on what alcohol ads can refer to and a ban on their use in film trailers. 

Alcohol Concern claims that young people now recognise more alcohol brands than ice cream or cake products. 

But industry body the Portman Group suggested the problems are over-stated. It pointed to lower rates of binge-drinking among teenagers as evidence that "we have got the right balance between marketing to adults and tough rules to protect children". 

In a statement to just-drinks, chief executive Henry Ashworth added: "We should be looking at why some areas in the UK are so out of kilter with these positive national trends and not wasting time talking about blanket marketing bans which are not proven to be effective in tackling harmful drinking.”

The Advertising Standards Authority, which is heavily criticised in the report, said: "It’s not unheard of for an anti-alcohol lobby group to call for further restrictions on advertising.

"However, the ASA will continue to take a proportionate approach, regulating effectively alcohol ads across media, including online, against strict rules that are designed to protect young people."

Last July, the UK's parliamentary health committee urged the government to consider a widespread ban on alcohol advertising. 

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