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Government must call time on alcohol ads

January 13, 2006
Government must call time on alcohol ads

The New Zealand Drug Foundation has welcomed today's announcement of a multi-agency review of alcohol advertising initiated by the Government.

Drug Foundation executive director Ross Bell said that the review appeared to be comprehensive, but he questioned the exclusion of independent public health experts from the review panel.

"The evidence is clear that alcohol advertising has a significant impact on the attitudes of people towards drinking, especially the attitudes of young people," said Mr Bell.

"If New Zealand is serious about addressing the issues such as binge and underage drinking, then we must critically examine the role of how alcohol advertising encourages our drinking culture.

"Young New Zealanders are subjected to seductive images of a high life through alcohol that ignores the realities of problem drinking. A hangover pales in comparison to the risk of death and injury caused by alcohol," he said.

"The current model of industry self-regulation must end. Alcohol companies and advertisers cannot be called responsible when they allow themselves to advertise alcohol on television from 8.30pm, when over 25 per cent of 10-17 year-olds are watching."

However, the Drug Foundation was concerned that independent public health advocates were to be left off the review panel.

"Public health advocates have highlighted the problems of alcohol marketing for many years in the face of strong opposition from well-moneyed alcohol companies," said Mr Bell.

"If advertising and industry bodies are represented on the review panel then it would be very concerning to leave out the voices that have fought long and hard for the Government to recognise the negative impact of alcohol advertising."

The Drug Foundation advocates for a complete ban on alcohol advertising on television and radio as part of a comprehensive package to reduce alcohol-related harm and change New Zealand’s drinking culture.

ENDS

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