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DI Report – Alcohol Advertising Bans – September 2009


A fortnight ago, doctors called for a total ban on all forms of alcohol advertising in a bid to address the rising cost of drink-related problems.2 The British Medical Association (BMA) believes that alcohol – the nation’s favourite drug – should be subjected to the same advertising rules as tobacco.

Doctors want to see a total ban on advertising, which includes sporting and music festival sponsorship deals and cut-price drinks promotions. According to the BMA, its report, entitled Under the influence - the damaging effect of alcohol marketing on young people, ‘identifies effective ways of protecting young people from the influence of alcohol promotion and marketing’.

Given the source, the BMA’s pro-ban position unsurprisingly generated several hundred print and broadcast media headlines both at home and abroad.

What is surprising, however, is the weakness of the BMA’s case. This paper examines whether the BMA’s claims about alcohol advertising effects are evidence-based and, consequently, whether its demand for a ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship is justified. Download the PDF file


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