The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) has today urged the Government to act speedily to protect children from dangerously high levels of alcohol advertising following the release of a new report on alcohol advertising by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency today.
Professor Mike Daube AO, Co-Chair of the NAAA and alcohol spokesperson for the Public Health Association of Australia, said Australian families are under siege from alcohol marketing, with children often seeing more alcohol advertising than adults.
“Alcohol has a devastating impact on individuals and the community. It’s time to protect kids from the relentless pressure to drink that comes from unrestrained alcohol advertising on TV, through sports sponsorship and in social media, at all times of the day, 365 days of the year,” Professor Daube said.
“This new report makes it abundantly clear that the Government should act to end the loophole permitting TV alcohol promotion through sport, and end the current charade of industry self-regulation.”
Todd Harper, Co-Chair of the NAAA and CEO of Cancer Council Victoria said: “An obvious first step to protect children from alcohol advertising is to close the regulatory loopholes that allows advertising of alcohol products on television during children’s viewing hours, that is, during live sport telecasts.”
“Sports on TV are extremely popular with children, even more so than some cartoons. So, if we stop alcohol advertising there, we can start protecting children from the powerful marketing forces encouraging them to drink.”
“International research shows that children who regularly see alcohol advertising are more likely to start drinking at a younger age, and drink at harmful levels as an adult. Much of this marketing also has the effect of reinforcing the harmful drinking culture in Australia.”
“Alcohol takes a massive toll on the community, causing mental illness, violence, child abuse, and diseases such as liver cirrhosis and several types of cancer that could be prevented. The time has come for responsible regulation, established by government and backed by sanctions for serious non-compliance,” Mr Harper said.
Professor Daube added that the NAAA also urged the government to reconsider its widely-criticised decision to defund the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia (ADCA), the nation’s peak alcohol and drug treatment and services organisation.
“This bizarre decision was taken without consultation and warning. There is still time to overturn the decision before ADCA closes its doors at the end of the week.”
“Decisions such as those on alcohol advertising and the future of ADCA will show whether the Government has any serious intention of changing Australia’s drinking culture and protecting children from predatory alcohol companies”.