Intended for healthcare professionals


Alcohol and social marketing

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 08 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3646
  1. Ian Gilmore, president, Royal College of Physicians and chairman, Alcohol Health Alliance
  1. 1Royal College of Physicians, St Andrew’s Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE
  1. Ian.Gilmore{at}

    Is it time to stop peddling the myth?

    The use and abuse of alcohol in society is complex. Although international evidence shows that the main drivers of consumption are price and availability, there are many other factors that are deeply embedded in society and individual behaviours that influence how, why, and how much people drink. A recent report from the BMA, Under the influence—the damaging effect of alcohol marketing on young people, provides a fascinating overview of the links between advertising, promotion, and consumption.1

    Its main author, Gerard Hastings, is the first professor of social marketing in the UK and is clearly disturbed by the accumulating evidence on the links between the £800m (€915m, $1313m) spent annually by the alcohol industry on marketing and the nation’s consumption. The report’s analysis of the evidence confirms that alcohol marketing is independently linked to the age of onset of drinking in young people and the amount they drink. These factors are also predictors of …

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