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PHA Calls for Ban on Alcohol Advertising

PHA Calls for Ban on Alcohol Advertising

Wednesday 29 March 2006

The Public Health Association (PHA) is calling for a total ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship.

Addressing Parliament's Law and Order Select Committee, PHA Director Dr Gay Keating said the Government needed to get serious if it wanted to change New Zealand’s binge drinking culture. The committee was considering submissions on the Sale of Liquor (Youth Alcohol Harm Reduction) Amendment Bill.

“Alcohol advertising has a significant impact on the attitudes of people towards drinking, especially the attitudes of young people. Alcohol advertisements portray drinking as a sophisticated and desirable activity, and ignore the negatives – such as the risk of death, injuries, fetal alcohol syndrome, family violence, and crime.”

She said young people are subjected to a barrage of alcohol ads on television from 8.30 in the evening – when over 25 percent of 10-17 year-olds are watching.

“Advertisers pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the funniest, quirkiest, most effective ads. It’s all about encouraging people to drink more, more often.”

Dr Keating said making a few changes here and there – such as requiring alcohol ads to be screened later at night – would have little effect. Decisive action was needed to help reduce alcohol-related harm.

“The PHA calls for a complete ban on alcohol advertising as part of a comprehensive package to reduce alcohol-related harm and change New Zealand’s drinking culture.”

She said in the meantime, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) should cease to have any jurisdiction over alcohol advertising.

“The ASA has shown that it is not an effective regulator. From 2000 to 2003, a total of 84 complaints about alcohol advertising were received, but only 30 percent upheld. This is always the risk when an industry regulates itself. Banning alcohol advertising completely would remove the need for the ASA. In the meantime, the independent Broadcasting Standards Authority should adjudicate on all alcohol advertising complaints.”

ENDS

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