NordAN, the Nordic Alcohol and Drug Policy Network, has adopted and published a new policy paper with the goal of banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship in the whole Nordic and Baltic region.
In its policy paper NordAN writes, “there is an inherent conflict of interest between the goal of public health and the profit interests of the alcohol and related industries; populations of the countries implementing full advertising bans, such as Iceland, Norway, Faroe Islands, experience less alcohol related harm.”
Lauri Beekmann, NordANs secretary general told EUCAM: “Our region is very diverse, as we have countries which already have a full alcohol advertising ban, but also countries with rather liberal restrictions. As a network we were missing a more comprehensive position on alcohol advertising so this policy paper was very much needed step in our work. We are extremely happy for the advertising and monitoring section and their work and we hope that this important field in alcohol policy will evolve greatly both in our Nordic-Baltic region but also in the whole European arena.” Nijole Gostautaite Midttun who has led the drafting of the document reacted: “Having a common goal makes it easier to compare measures in different countries, learn from each other and support most effective policy measures to protect children against the harmful effects of alcohol advertising.”
“There is a need to promote cost-effective alcohol control interventions; banning alcohol advertising is one of three “best buys” advocated by WHO as a cost-effective measure for reducing alcohol related harm,” the document continues. Therefore NordAN concludes that “there is sufficient evidence that a full ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship is a cost-effective way to reduce alcohol consumption and exposure of young people to alcohol advertising and should be promoted as such. Politicians and policy makers in the Nordic-Baltic region should be encouraged to choose this intervention before seeking other more complex and expensive interventions.” Accordingly, the NordAN network’s newest policy goal is “to research, promote, advance, protect and monitor implementation of a full ban on advertising and sponsorship of alcohol in the Nordic – Baltic region.”
Midttun also said: “I am glad we were able to achieve a joint capacity for an NGO lobby towards an alcohol advertising ban in the Nordic and Baltic countries. The goal is based on sound scientific evidence and positive experience from several Nordic countries. Hopefully this would be that crucial first step towards an EU-wide ban on alcohol advertising.”
Under development since 2013, the document is the result of the first seminar ‘Alcohol marketing monitoring in NordAN region: from monitoring to control’ in Vilnius (Lithuania) which was funded by NordAN and organized by the Lithuanian Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition (NTAKK).
At its last meeting, the NordAN board adopted the new policy document out of a need for common policy. Participants of the 2013 seminar explored possibilities for coordinated marketing monitoring activities within the NordAN region and identified the need to formulate NordANs position regarding the issue of alcohol marketing. The outcome of this seminar was the new NordAN section for Alcohol marketing monitoring and the initiation of the current policy paper.
The policy paper was prepared by: Nijole Gostautaite Midttun, Lauri Beekmann, Vaida Liutkute, Mindaugas Stelemekas, Aurelijus Veryga, with comments and guidance of Avalon de Bruijn (EUCAM), Ernesta Paukste (School of Medicine, Griffith University) and members of the NordAN board, review by Tristan Duncan (School of Medicine, Griffith University).
The NordAN board has decided to support the Policy Paper for Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship ban at its October 10, 2014 meeting in Riga (Latvia) and disseminated it for the consultation round among the NordAN member organizations after the General Assembly meeting in Riga. After the round of consultations it was adopted as a policy paper for the whole network at the NordAN board meeting on February 24th 2015 in Helsinki, Finland.
For an interview about the policy paper with Nijole Gostautaite Midttun, please see video below: