The British charity Alcohol Concern has released a new report, detailing the outcome of a survey of more than 2300 British minors. The report reveals that young people are concerned about under-age alcohol exposure and feel strongly about installing more protective regulations. The report also described the youths as feeling bombarded by alcohol marketing.

Alcohol Concern underlines that while experts agree that under-18s should be protected from exposure to alcohol promotion, evidence shows that children and young people as young as 11 in England and Wales are regularly exposed to alcohol advertising. The report explains that young people’s views are currently excluded from the debate about appropriate regulation of alcohol promotion. Since the report is based on the largest UK survey about children and alcohol marketing, this is no longer the case.

Among noteworthy finding are that British youths support strong regulations on alcohol marketing through traditional media channels. Most of the respondents do not want to interfere with advertisers reaching adult audiences but do want strong protection for under-18s, often calling for more robust regulation than that which currently exists:

• 60% want alcohol advertising in the cinema restricted to 18-certificate films only
• 58% want alcohol advertising on television limited to after the watershed (9pm)
• 59% want alcohol promotion limited only to the areas of supermarkets and off-licences selling alcohol.

Another, more troubling conclusion, was that young people do not recognize ‘below the line’ alcohol marketing strategies. Alcohol Concern has voiced particular concern at this finding, because of the recent growth in marketing through non-traditional channels such as events sponsorship and digital media. For example half of the respondents do not recognize sports sponsorship, event sponsoring or official social network pages of alcohol producers as alcohol marketing.

In closing the report, Alcohol Concern recommends the UK government to:
• Review whether the existing regulatory framework adequately protects children and young people from cumulative exposure to alcohol marketing
• Introduce a regulatory framework that better protects children and young people from alcohol marketing
• Systematically feed children and young people’s views into decision making for setting alcohol marketing regulations.

Read the full report ‘Overexposed and overlooked’ at the Alcohol Concern website>>

Source: Alcohol Concern 10/20/11

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