With the peak age for the onset of alcohol use disorders being only 18 years of age, doctors
are calling for greater regulation of alcohol advertising to prevent alcohol companies targeting
Senior Fellows representing the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), will today
give evidence before the NSW inquiry on the Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Prohibition Bill.
“Young people who are exposed to alcohol advertising consume alcohol earlier and consume
more alcohol,” Consultant Paediatrician Professor Elizabeth Elliott explains.
“Alcohol affects the development of a teenager’s brain, which doesn’t reach maturity until
around 25 years of age. A young, developing brain is vulnerable and the potential brain
damage that alcohol can cause is long-term and irreversible.”
Alcohol use in young people is linked to higher risk of serious injuries and even death. Indeed,
globally alcohol is the biggest risk factor for death for men aged 14–49.
The RACP supports legislative measures to ban alcohol advertising at sporting events and to
start phasing out alcohol sponsorship from competitions and teams across all sporting codes.
In its submission, the RACP argues that the NSW Government can directly influence outdoor
advertising which uses government property – this includes advertising on buses, trains, bus
shelters, train stations and sports stadiums.
RACP President, Dr Catherine Yelland said the harms caused by alcohol are entirely
preventable and it’s up to the Commonwealth Government, along with all states and territories,
to do more to regulate the industry.
“Alcohol companies are unapologetic about their advertising methods so we simply cannot
rely on the industry to self-regulate – as a strategy, self-regulation has failed,” Dr Yelland said.
“It’s up to government to do a lot more to restrict alcohol advertising in places where young
people are likely to see it.”
In NSW alone, the NSW Auditor General estimated the cost of alcohol abuse at $3.9 billion
per year, or $1,565 per household. Of this amount, $1 billion a year or $416 per household is
incurred in the form of spending on additional government services to address the negative
‘spillover effects’ of alcohol consumption, such as increased crime and morbidity.
The RACP submission: NSW Inquiry into Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Prohibition Bill ACP’s submission (PDF 0.7MB)
draws extensively from the evidence discussed and cited in its 2016
Alcohol Policy, developed jointly with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of
Melissah Bell 0415 111 503