Higher alcohol taxes, health warnings in ads, and alcohol advertising ban
The Federal Drug Commissioner Burkhard Blienert (Social Democrats, SPD) commissioned a representative survey among Germans about alcohol and other drug policy. It shows a majority of Germans supports a ban of alcohol advertising. Mr Blienert is the German Federal government’s top official dealing with alcohol policy.
The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported about the survey findings, from 1,400 respondents:
- 59% support a complete advertising ban for beer, wine and schnapps.
- Germans also support labeling requirements similar to those for tobacco.
- 76% are in favor of health hazards warning labels on alcohol advertising.
- 50% of respondents are in favor of higher alcohol taxes.
Alcohol taxes in Germany are among the lowest in Europe. For instance, wine is not taxed at all.
Clearly, people in Germany are weary of rampant alcohol harm and want alcohol policy improvements.
The real extent of alcohol harm in Germany
Movendi International is tracking the alcohol harm and policy situation in Germany systematically, with more than 120 articles covering the issues.
People and communities in Germany need urgent alcohol policy improvements as they struggle with epidemic levels of alcohol deaths.
According to a study by the German Central Office for Addiction Issues (Deutsche Hauptstelle für Suchtfragen, DHS), 74,000 people die every year due to the products and practices of the alcohol industry.
21,700 children and youth between the age of 10 and 20 years were hospitalized due to alcohol poisoning, in 2017.
In Germany, alcohol causes 20,000 new cancer cases and 8000 cancer deaths every year.
The most common cancers caused by alcohol are colorectal cancer, cancers of the mouth and throat, liver, esophagus, and breast.
Other than alcohol’s health harms, the products and practices of alcohol companies also lead to grave social and economic costs for German society. About one in 10 crimes are committed under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol plays a role in around 5% of all traffic crashes involving personal injury.
Alcohol harm leads to €57 billion in direct and indirect costs to German society.
Meanwhile, alcohol tax revenue amounts to only €3.2 billion – nowhere near enough to cover the cost that the products and practices of the alcohol industry are causing.
to be made more difficult. They should only be offered in glass showcases.
Ates Gürpinar, spokesman for drug policy for DIE LINKE in the Bundestag says:
Alcohol advertising is harmful to public health. This also applies to advertising for tobacco and other addictive substances. There is a small part of the economy that benefits and the majority suffers as a result. Once again, the population is ahead of the government.Ates Gürpinar, spokesman for drug policy for DIE LINKE
The federal government must finally bring itself to a stringent drug policy in the service of the people: while people are criminalized because of small amounts of cannabis, the alcohol and tobacco industry earns billions – and society pays for the health consequences.”
Government commitment to improve alcohol policy
In addition to the three alcohol policy improvements that people in German favor, the Federal Drug Commissioner is also calling for common sense limits on alcohol availability, for example in German supermarkets. The easy and wide availability of liquor bottles at supermarket checkouts should be changed, according to Mr Blienert.
Schnaps as a take-away item according to the motto “one more goes” is not allowed,” saidBurkhard Blienert, Federal Drug Commissioner
Burkhard Blienert, Federal Drug Commissioner, according Sueddeutsche Zeitung reporting.
Mr Blienert has previously called for alcohol policy improvements. Movendi International reported earlier this year about the need for a paradigm shift in German alcohol policy.
In this context, Mr Blienert has emphasized the fact that Germany has done poorly in protecting people and communities from harm caused by alcohol.
Mr Blienert is committed to banning alcohol advertising on TV and the Internet until 10 p.m. He would also like to completely ban billboards that children and young people can see. And he wants to set limits for event sponsorships. As Federal Drug Commissioner, however, he can only make recommendations.
A new resolve and commitment is emerging: the German Federal government’s top official dealing with alcohol policy has made reiterated his commitment, people and communities in Germany support and want alcohol policy improvements, including tax increases and an advertising ban, the opposition also supports accelerated action on alcohol harm, and the German government has enshrined alcohol policy development in the coalition agreement.
Ates Gürpinar, speaker for drug policy issues of the opposition party The Left (Die Linke) said, according to Alkoholpolitik.de:
Alcohol marketing damages the health of the population. There’s a small part of the economy that benefits from this, while the majority of our society suffers the consuequences.
Once again, the people are ahead of the government. The Federal Government must finally develop a comprehensive alcohol policy in the interest of the people.”Ates Gürpinar, speaker for drug policy issues, The Left party
The government coalition consisting of Social Democrats (SPD), Greens (Die Grünen), and Free Democrats (FDP) included in their coalition contract several commitments to improve alcohol policy. The clearest commitment is to place common sense limits on alcohol advertising in line with latest evidence.