Close loophole to reduce children’s exposure to alcohol advertising

The Federal Government should close an advertising loophole that allows alcohol companies to promote their products at times when children are most likely to be watching television, an expert from the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), said today.

Speaking at the Global Alcohol Policy Conference in Melbourne, Professor Paul Haber said:

“There is an unhealthy relationship between alcohol and sport and the impact of this association is playing out in the drinking behaviours of young people.

“There is clear evidence which shows the more young people are exposed to alcohol marketing and promotion, the more likely they are to start consuming alcohol and to develop drinking problems later in life.

“The Federal Government must close the loophole in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice that allows alcohol advertisements to be aired during sports broadcasts in children’s peak viewing hours on weekends and public holidays.”

Alcohol companies are not allowed to air television commercials on weekdays before 8.30pm, but the Code’s restrictions don’t apply on weekends and public holidays during sports broadcasts.

In addition to restricting alcohol advertising, Professor Haber urged policy-makers to look at measures to limit the availability of alcohol and to improve access to treatment.

The RACP launched its updated Alcohol Policy in March 2016, in collaboration with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

The policy presents a review of the evidence of alcohol harms and identifies the risks of alcohol consumption during adolescence – a key concern for paediatricians who account for one third of the RACP’s membership.
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