Bombardment of alcohol advertising could difficult for recovery

Christmas and sporting events spark a ‘constant bombardment’ of alcohol advertising that can cause huge issues for addicts trying to stay sober, experts warn

  • Alcohol marketing makes it difficult for those addicted or in recovery to participate in everyday life 
  • 2019 poll of 2,500 youths found 82 per cent of 11-17 year olds saw marketing
  • Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) calling on government to protect those in recovery and prevent children from overexposure to alcohol marketing
  • Alcohol advertising needs tighter restrictions to limit the ‘constant bombardment’ at celebrations such as Christmas and sports events, MPs and health experts have warned.

    An Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) report found that the marketing of alcohol at special events made it difficult for those who were addicted or in recovery to fully participate in everyday life and could trigger relapse.

    The report – No escape: How alcohol marketing preys on children and vulnerable people – also noted that children were regularly exposed to alcohol marketing.

    A 2019 poll funded by Cancer Research UK of more than 2,500 young people found that 82 per cent of 11- to 17-year-olds had seen alcohol marketing in the previous month.An Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) report found that the marketing of alcohol at special events made it difficult for those who were addicted or in recovery to fully participate in everyday life and could trigger relapse.

    An Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) report found that the marketing of alcohol at special events made it difficult for those who were addicted or in recovery to fully participate in everyday life and could trigger relapse (stock image)

    An Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) report found that the marketing of alcohol at special events made it difficult for those who were addicted or in recovery to fully participate in everyday life and could trigger relapse (stock image)

    Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the AHA which represents more than 60 non-governmental organisations, said: ‘The Government must now introduce comprehensive marketing restrictions in both real-world and digital spaces to ensure that vulnerable adults and children are protected from alcohol advertising and its harm.’

    The AHA, which represents more than 60 non-governmental organisations, is calling on the Government to take urgent action to protect those in recovery, as well as children, from overexposure to alcohol marketing.

    The Health and Care Bill plans to introduce advertising restrictions such as a 9pm watershed for ‘less healthy food or drink’ advertising on TV and the prohibition of online campaigns at the end of 2022.

    However, alcohol is not included in the plans.

    Susan Laurie, who has been in recovery for seven years, said: ‘Christmas is the season when the adverts for alcohol are relentless. They convince us that alcohol is an essential part of the festivities.

    ‘Supermarkets also push discounted alcohol and will have special offers that are designed to make us buy more and more drink. 

    ‘Trying to maintain sobriety is difficult at the best of times, but at Christmas alcohol is absolutely everywhere, and this can have devastating consequences – as it did for me.’

    Christian Wakeford, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, said: ‘The current self-regulatory alcohol marketing system is failing to protect our children and vulnerable adults from exposure to alcohol advertising.

    The AHA, which represents more than 60 non-governmental organisations, is calling on the Government to take urgent action to protect those in recovery, as well as children, from overexposure to alcohol marketing (stock image)

    The AHA, which represents more than 60 non-governmental organisations, is calling on the Government to take urgent action to protect those in recovery, as well as children, from overexposure to alcohol marketing (stock image)

    ‘Restrictions for tobacco advertising have been in place for many years, and stricter requirements have been proposed for junk food advertising. Like alcohol, these products can cause harm to our health. Alcohol should be no exception. We need to ensure alcohol marketing regulations are entirely independent of the industry and are effective to protect the most vulnerable in our society.

    Shadow public health secretary Alex Norris said: ‘Alcohol continues to hurt too many individuals, families and communities across our country. This report is another reminder that we need to do more to stop and prevent this harm.

    ‘With deaths linked to alcohol now at record highs, the Government must urgently introduce a series of preventative measures to decrease harmful drinking. This should include comprehensive controls on alcohol marketing, as recommended by both this report and the World Health Organisation.’

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