Alcohol marketing: grooming the next generation

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f1227 (Published 01 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1227
  1. Gerard Hastings, director1,
  2. Nick Sheron, head of clinical hepatology 2
  1. 1Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling and the Open University, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK
  2. 2Clinical and Experimental Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  1. gerard.hastings{at}stir.ac.uk

Children are more exposed than adults and need much stronger protection

If protecting children from harm is the hallmark of a civilised society, the United Kingdom is failing the test when it comes to alcohol marketing. A new analysis conducted by the RAND Corporation for the European Commission shows that British regulatory structures are so flawed that teenagers, far from being shielded from alcohol promotion, are more exposed to it than are adults.1 It shows, for example, that 10-15 year olds in the UK see 10% more alcohol advertising on TV than their parents do. Even more shocking, when it comes to the specific sector of alcopops, they see 50% more (figure).

Incidence rate ratios of exposure of different age groups to television alcohol advertising compared with adults in the United Kingdom1

Furthermore, digital advances are set to make things even worse. Although television is still the alcohol marketer’s principal channel of choice, it is rapidly being overtaken by new types of media, especially campaigns that harness social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. This sector is …

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