Tomorrow’s first State of Origin match signals the beginning of young Australians being exposed to the mass alcohol advertising to come over the State of Origin games says co-chair of the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) Committee Dr John Crozier.
“It is shameful that children continue to be exposed to harmful alcohol advertising as families tune their televisions to live sporting events like the State of Origin,” said Dr Crozier, also Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trauma Committee.
“Allowing our sporting heroes to be walking billboards for alcohol products during prime time viewing encourages children to start drinking at a younger age and at more harmful levels when they reach adulthood.
“Alcohol advertising has never been as pervasive, as inventive, and as well-resourced as it is now. There is an urgent need for effective regulation that prioritises the health of young people, and supports public health efforts to change Australia’s harmful drinking culture.”
The Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice was reviewed earlier this year and continued to allow alcohol advertising before 8.30pm during live broadcasts of sporting events.
“The Australian Government has continuously failed to end the unhealthy link between alcohol sponsorship and sport and as a result children are exposed to an ever increasing rate of alcohol advertising,” said Dr Crozier.
A recent survey conducted by the Foundation of Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) shows 60% of Australians believe alcohol sponsorship should be banned from sport and 70% believe alcohol advertising should be banned on television before 8:30pm.
Protecting children from alcohol advertising and sponsorship is one action of NAAA’s 4-point plan to prevent alcohol harm. NAAA hopes this 4-point plan speaks to politicians in the upcoming Federal Election to take action in reducing alcohol harms.
“Commercial interests have been prioritised over expert advice and community concerns, and it is time for the next Government to step in and acknowledge the failure of self-regulation and the need for legislated controls.
“A whole-of-system review that considers the effect of alcohol advertising on young people across all mediums is required, and the NAAA is calling for an immediate end to the Code of Practice loophole which allows alcohol advertising during sporting events before 8.30pm.”
To arrange an interview with Dr Crozier please contact: Amy Kimber – 0437 144 050
Please click here for the PDF of the media release