Ban Booze Ads
Ban Booze Ads If Serious About Young People's Health
Green Drug Policy Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos today said that figures released on the possible effects of lowering the drinking age supported his call for a ban on alcohol advertising on TV and more public education on responsible drinking.
"These figures show that the proportion of under 18 year olds drinking has not changed, but those who do drink drink more and drink more often. They also show a clear decline in drink driving. This reflects a changed culture that no longer sees drink driving as acceptable.
"It is pretty obvious that the most useful thing we could do is change the culture of binge drinking and not just among young people," he said.
"It is predictable that we will hear calls for raising the alcohol age limit. We must be careful not to react to these figures in a kneejerk fashion. Just like attitudes towards drink driving have been changed over the years, substituting the endless promotion of alcohol through advertising with messages of moderation and sensible drinking will be much more useful.
"In 1998 there was approximately $52 million worth of alcohol sponsorship and advertising on television and radio and in newspapers and magazines. Health promotion messages would have been a fraction of that.
"As I have said before, the talk about raising or lowering the drinking age is a red herring. The real issue is not whether people use alcohol but in what way," said Nandor.
Auckland Hospital emergency medical specialist Peter Jones has said the liquor law changes had 'exposed a younger age group to the societal norm of drinking to excess'.
"The real problem is not the age but the mistaken belief that it is cool to get pissed," said Nandor.
"Research shows the link between alcohol promotion and heavy drinking and if members of parliament are serious about the welfare of young people, they will make banning alcohol advertising a priority, and instead promote harm reduction messages of responsible alcohol use.
"The Greens want to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol. That doesn't mean arresting people for drinking, but it does mean promoting moderation," said Nandor.
"The banning of tobacco advertising and sponsorship has been massively successful. There is no good reason for allowing alcohol advertising to continue, unless we believe corporate profits are more important than people," he said.