Summer exposes children to more harmful alcohol advertising

Eighteen-year-old Cole Miller has become the latest victim in what is believed to be an alcohol-fuelled attack, passing away in a Queensland hospital yesterday after being punched in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane early on Sunday morning.

Dr John Crozier, Co-Chair of the NAAA and Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trauma Committee said that Mr Miller’s death was a tragedy and urged the Queensland Government to bring in reduced trading hours as soon as possible.

“It is shameful that while young people are killed in these unprovoked attacks, children continue to be exposed to harmful alcohol advertising as families tune their televisions to live sporting events over the holidays,” Dr Crozier said.

“The Australian Government failed to end the unhealthy link between alcohol sponsorship and sport when the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice was recently reviewed.

“The Code contains a loophole which allows alcohol advertising before 8.30pm during live broadcasts of sporting events, and as a result children are exposed to an ever increasing rate of alcohol advertising.

“Instead of strengthening the regulations, the revised Code of Practice has lowered the bar even further, extending the times at which alcohol can be advertised, broadening the range of alcohol promotions that are exempt from regulation, and reducing the accessibility of the complaints process.

“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 children and young people.”

National market research earlier this year showed that 74 percent of Australians support phasing out alcohol commercials from television sports broadcasts, with only 8 percent opposed.

“Children who regularly see alcohol advertising are more likely to start drinking at a younger age, and drink at harmful levels when they reach adult-hood. Much of this marketing also reinforces the harmful drinking culture in Australia and overwhelms health and medical efforts to change this,” Dr Crozier said.

“We know that an expert report prepared by the Australian National Preventive Health Agency more than a year ago recommended that the Government legislate to control alcohol advertising and marketing if the industry failed to voluntarily remove the live sports broadcast exemption.

“Commercial interests have been prioritised over expert advice and community concerns, and it is time for either the Minister for Communications or the relevant Minister from the Health portfolio 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.”

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For further information or to arrange an interview with Dr Crozier please contact:

Amy Kimber – 0437 144 050