Australia: Kids Can’t Avoid Alcohol Ads
Kids are forcefully exposed to alcohol ads everywhere in Australia because of weak alcohol marketing regulation and aggressive alcohol industry tactics. Reportedly, kids see these ads in school buses, in front of primary schools and before children’s videos on Youtube.
A report comprising an analysis of complaints made to the Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB) was released by the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia (PHAIWA) based at Curtin University. The report found almost two-thirds of complaints made to the AARB over the past seven years had raised concerns about the placement of alcohol marketing in Australia.
- 760 of the total 1126 complaints were on where alcohol marketing was placed in the community.
- Of the 760 placement-related complaints, almost 40% were about alcohol ads placed where young people were likely to be exposed or with content that would appeal to them.
- A 15-year-old Australian child could be exposed to alcohol marketing through Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, billboards, on public transport, at the supermarket, on television, and in the cinema all in one day.
The report highlights the need for governments to introduce stronger regulations to better protect children and young people from exposure to alcohol marketing.
Young people are regularly exposed to alcohol advertising and this can influence their beliefs and attitudes about [alcohol use].
Some alarming examples of alcohol advertising in Australia include an alcohol advertisement on a school bus in Sydney, and a sign for an alcohol delivery service directly opposite a primary school in Melbourne,” said Ms Julia Stafford, from the Alcohol Programs Team at PHAIWA as per mirage news.
Recommendation to regulate alcohol advertising
Public health experts and researchers have recommended several solutions to regulate alcohol ads more effectively in Australia.
- Removing the exemption in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice that allows alcohol advertisements to be broadcast during sports programming on weekends and public holidays.
- Replace the self-regulatory alcohol advertising system with independent, legislated controls that cover the volume, content, and placement of all forms of alcohol marketing.
- State, territory, and local governments should remove alcohol advertising from public transport vehicles and transit stops, on sporting fields, stadiums, billboards and other outdoor advertising locations.
Alcohol is a major risk factor for cancer, not an everyday normal product as the advertising would suggest.
We must do more to protect kids from this constant exposure as clearly industry self-regulation is not working,” said Ms Melissa Ledger, Cancer Prevention and Research Director from Cancer Council WA, as per mirage news.
In a country where alcohol is the most harmful drug for the people, the government needs to take strong alcohol control policy action to safeguard the Australian people and specially children and youth.
Failure of self-regulation of the alcohol industry advertising has been evident in Australia for a many years. It’s high time the country heeded expert recommendations and invested in an independent regulatory body for all alcohol marketing.