British health experts call for a ban on alcohol advertising in the United Kingdom after a new study claims the industry’s marketing methods encourage young people to drink.
The impacts of exposure to alcohol advertising were investigated around the world and the findings indicated that the methods employed in its marketing seemed to be in breach of the industry’s codes of practice and therefore insufficient to protect children, according to a research study, cited in a Guardian report on Tuesday
“It is clear that self-regulation is not working and we welcome calls for greater action from governments to protect children from exposure to alcohol marketing,” said Professor Ian Gilmore, the chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), which is a coalition of 41 organizations that share an interest in reducing the damage caused to health by alcohol misuse in the UK.
“We know that alcohol marketing contains content and messages that appeal to children, and that due to exposure to this advertising, children drink more, and start drinking at an earlier age,” he noted.
Chris Brookes, the International Business Development director at UK Health Forum said that, “Governments have previously approved self-regulatory measures on alcohol advertising, however, we can no longer say that they might work to protect our young people, they don’t.”
“Governments are responsible for the health of their citizens. No other legal product with such potential for harm is as widely promoted and advertised in the world as alcohol,” he added.
A survey last August revealed that over half of British parents allowed their children under the age of 14 to drink alcohol at home.
Of 1,000 parents surveyed in Britain, 34 percent of them with under-14 children used alcohol as a bribe to encourage good behavior, while 11 percent of parents with children between the ages of five and seven let them drink at home, according to the research study conducted by Churchill home insurance.
A quarter of the parents in the survey said they saw “nothing wrong” with their children drinking alcohol.
This is while UK health officials have repeatedly warned parents to keep children away from alcohol until they are at least 15 years old.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO), which is the most senior health institution in Britain, says those who drink before the age of 14 are at increased risk of health problems, alcohol-related injuries, involvement in violence and suicide attempts.
The Tuesday plea was made despite recent statistics, which showed that the levels of young British drinkers are on a record low, with about 17 percent of children aged between eight and 15, admitting to drinking alcohol.