More than 3600 Swedes have signed a petition protesting against alcoholic popsicles that were co-created by a former member of Swedish House Mafia. The petition, launched my Swedish temperance movement IOGT-NTO, demands that N1CE frozen cocktails should be removed from grocery stores in the country. One of the creators of the product is Sebastian Ingrosso, a DJ and producer who was a member of electronic music supergroup Swedish House Mafia until they disbanded in 2013. He is also a co-founder of the N1CE company. The alcoholic ice-lollies containing five percent alcohol can be purchased in normal supermarkets, whereas virtually all other alcohol can only be obtained in the state monopoly Systembolagets. This is why temperance movement IOGT-NTO has come into action against the popsicles: “It’s a way to market alcohol in many locations, and to make alcohol more clearly the norm by getting it in different contexts. Especially with regards to popsicles, which are something you associate with children,” IOGT-NTO director Leif Arne Gustavsson argued to SVT News. Read on at thelocal.se
The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) is seeking a ban on the advertising of certain foods, beverages and alcohol between 7am and 11pm in every EU country, in a bid to protect minors. The European Commission recently published its proposal to revise the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD). The AVMSD deals, amongst others, with advertising of unhealthy foods to children as well as alcohol advertising. Two rapporteurs have been appointed to take the proposal through the European Parliament. They asked for comments on the Commission proposal from a wide range of stakeholders. EASL sent in a submission on alcohol and food advertising. While EASL believes that, in certain respects, the Commission’s proposal for amending the Audio Visual Media Services Directive represents an improvement on the current Directive, they also see several important respects in which it can be strengthened. In their submission EASL refers to numerous studies which show that exposure to marketing of alcohol and foods high in salt, sugar and saturated fats, increases consumption of these products in all segments of the population, including children. The EASL recommendations aim to strengthen the existing Directive which states that advertising must not cause “physical or moral detriment to minors”. The EASL is also requesting amendments to the Directive in relation to product placement and sponsorship. The rapporteurs are scheduled to publish their draft report in early September. Other Parliamentary committees will then have the opportunity to submit amendments. Read EASL’s submission here. Source: EASL.EU 07/19/16 maismaismedicina 07/22/16
The above presentation by professor Amandine Garde was originally given on May 31st in the European Parliament at our seminar 'How do we protect minors from exposure of alcohol marketing?' and describes the practical possibilities of further restrictions on alcohol marketing in the AVMSD, as well as the legal need for such restrictions.
This Wednesday, EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger presented the new draft proposal of the AVMSD, which was shockingly devoid of increased restrictions on alcohol advertising. The new proposal follows a 2015 public consultation in which many European health- and consumer organizations indicated they wanted the AVMSD to do a better job at protecting minors against exposure of alcohol advertising.
The EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) is the only pan European media regulation, and therefore the only Europe-wide regulation of alcohol advertising. Because of its unique position, the AVMSD is a crucial European policy instrument in preventing harmful content from reaching minors. The AVMSD has two articles dedicated to alcohol advertising (article 9.1 and article 22) but these do not effectively protect minors from frequent exposure to alcohol advertising, which is often particularly attractive to minors. The draft for a revised AVMSD that is currently on the table boasts that it will better protect minors from harmful content, yet it does nothing to decrease the number of alcohol advertisements European children are exposed to on a daily basis. In fact because of a liberalization of broadcast advertising times, it is possible that minors will be exposed to an even greater number of alcohol advertisements. The revised AVMSD draft proposes to increasingly rely on alcohol industry self- and co regulation. This shows how market interests are put above European public health. The commission is willingly ignoring a vast body of research which shows that alcohol industry self-regulation stands at odds with improving public health. We ask EU citizens, NGOs, national and European representatives to ask the European Commission if they are really doing enough to effectively limit the exposure of minors to alcohol advertising. This is why the signatories of this press-release have jointly launched the website change-avmsd.eu! Visit the webpage, sign the petition and help us protect minors from exposure of alcohol advertising! If you are interested in this subject, want to know more or voice your support, you are kindly invited to our seminar “How do we protect minors from exposure of alcohol marketing?” at the European Parliament Room A1G3, Tuesday May 31st, 8:30.
 Especially the vulnerable group of 13-17 years of age will be watching prime-time and evening television which is expected to become more saturated with advertising, since broadcasters will no longer have an hourly maximum of 20% broadcast time they can show commercials, but now a daytime maximum of 20%.
Contact: email@example.com Telephone Wim van Dalen (EUCAM/STAP): +32 653 295 544The signatories of this press release are:
IOGT-NTO STAP, the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy EPHA, the European Public Health Alliance ACTIVE, Sobriety, Friendship & Piece EUCAM, the European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing BMA, the British Medical Association
European news portal Euractiv.com last week obtained a leaked draft proposal of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), which regulates broadcast and on demand media at the European level. As hoped by many health scientists and NGOs, the proposal underscores the importance of protecting young people against harmful media content, including alcohol advertising. However, worries arise over a proposed stronger reliance on self- and co-regulation of the industry. While the leaked document has stirred media reactions especially concerning a European content tax (nonlinear media providers such as Netflix and ITunes, would be subjected to a tax, from which new European media productions would be funded); a requirement for nonlinear media services to have at least 20% of their programming to be original European content; as well as a relaxation of television advertising times; less fuss is made about what the draft proposal says about the protection of minors against advertisements for salty, fatty, sugary, and alcohol products. So, what does the draft say about alcohol?
Alcohol will be added to 9 paragraph 4: ‘Member States and the Commission shall encourage the development of self-an co-regulatory codes of conduct regarding inappropriate audiovisual communications for alcoholic beverages. Member States are encouraged to ensure that these codes are used to effectively limit the exposure of minors to audiovisual commercial communications for alcoholic beverages. These codes shall be in line with article 4.7 of this directive.’Later on in the proposal, in prefix 34 the example of a good practice is given in the form of including responsible drinking messages as per the code of conduct. This is an example, which has been criticized by scientists and NGOs, because in the hand of alcohol producers the responsible drinking message becomes part of the marketing effort (Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence). In the paragraph ‘the choice of the instrument’ the proposal describes why self- or co-regulation have been chosen. The document states that: ‘Such regimes are deemed to be broadly accepted by the main stakeholders and provide for effective enforcement.’ EUCAM would like to point out that in case of the alcohol industry and protection of public health, such schemes are actually proven not to be effective (IAS, Addiction Journal, WHO). Of further interest is that the proposed document will give member states more options to take action against violations of their media regulations from abroad targeted at their own population. For this, see prefix 19, 29 as well as article 4 and article 5 ter. While it is disappointing to learn that the proposal doesn’t go into detail on how to reduce youth exposure to alcohol advertising, EUCAM would like to point out that the leaked draft is likely incomplete as it does not address crucial articles on alcohol advertising from the current version of the AVMSD, namely:
* Article 9. Paragraph 1e: Member States shall ensure that audiovisual commercial communications provided by media service providers under their jurisdiction comply with the following requirements: audiovisual commercial communications for alcoholic beverages shall not be aimed specifically at minors and shall not encourage immoderate consumption of such beverages; * Article 22: Television advertising and teleshopping for alcoholic beverages shall comply with the following criteria: (a) it may not be aimed specifically at minors or, in particular, depict minors consuming these beverages; (b) it shall not link the consumption of alcohol to enhanced physical performance or to driving; (c) it shall not create the impression that the consumption of alcohol contributes towards social or sexual success; (d) it shall not claim that alcohol has therapeutic qualities or that it is a stimulant, a sedative or a means of resolving personal conflicts; (e) it shall not encourage immoderate consumption of alcohol or present abstinence or moderation in a negative light; (f) it shall not place emphasis on high alcoholic content as being a positive quality of the beverages.Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Günther Oettinger on Monday the 23rd of May announced on Twitter: EURActiv.com 05/18/16
On 4 March 2016, the European Commission (DG Connect) published the final report of the study on the exposure of minors to alcohol advertising on linear and non-linear audio-visual media services and other online services, including a content analysis. The research was conducted by the consortium partners Ecorys and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in close collaboration with the following subcontractors: CentERdata, GfK Belgium and individual experts in the field (Prof. Peter Anderson and Prof. David Jernigan). The study found that approximately 7.3% of the total number of alcohol impacts on linear AV media services in 2013 were seen by minors. In absolute terms this means that, on average, a minor saw 200 alcohol impacts, while an adult saw over 450. According to the report, online services and the alcohol industry try to ensure minimal exposure through the implementation of measures and self-regulation, however, minors surveyed perceived a substantial level of exposure, while self-reported exposure increased with age and online activity. The study also found that the most common themes employed in alcohol advertisements include the association of alcohol with sociability and the depiction of drinking with humorous tones. Respectively, 87% and 63% of 90 analysed TV advertisements and 33 online alcohol advertisements contained at least one element that can be considered appealing to minors. In addition, it was found that 25% of the analysed advertisements reflect at least one of the criteria prohibited in the AVMSD. The full report can be found here>> A summary is available here>>
Last week, the EU Health Council endorsed Council conclusions on "An EU strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm". The joint Health Ministers of the EU Member States in this document call on the European Commission to publish an alcohol strategy by the end of next year. During the Council meeting, which was also attended by Vytenis Andriukaitis, the Lithuanian EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, as many as 11 Health Ministers voiced their opinion that a special EU strategy should be reinforced. Their voting statement, as well as the Council conclusions show that the Ministers of Health are of the opinion that the alcohol problem in Europe is so serious that in addition to alcohol policies of the Member States, measures are also needed at EU level. It is particularly concerned with policy designed to reduce alcohol related problems with a cross-border dimension, such as labeling, e-commerce, audiovisual media services, excise duties and import quotas. The new strategy should - according to the EU Health Council - align with the activities already undertaken by the Committee on National Alcohol Policy and Action (CNAPA) and the World Health Organization. It is striking that no mention is made in the document about the European Alcohol and Health Forum. During the council meeting, this forum was not mentioned at all by any Minister. It seems that with the departure of the joint health organizations from the Forum, it apparently has no future in the eyes of the Member States. On April the 29th of this year the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the Commission to immediately begin preparing a new European Alcohol Strategy. Until now, the Commission has refused however. Andriukaitis shortly after adoption of the resolution by the European Parliament said in a speech that - in his opinion - the European alcohol policy does not need to be put separately in a special strategy, but that it can be incorporated into a broader policy paper on chronic lifestyle diseases. European health organizations felt that this statement from Andriukatis a curtsy to the alcohol industry. Therefore, last summer they collectively withdrew from the European Alcohol and Health Forum. The Luxembourg Commission President Claude Juncker and Dutch First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, have so far not spoke out in favour of an Alcohol Strategy. However, it looks as though they may have to review the current state of affairs. Now that both the European Parliament and the EU Health Council have so explicitly asked for a strategic paper on alcohol, the Commission can no longer refuse. Commenting on the adopted Council conclusions Andriukatis immediately stated that the Commission has not definitively decided whether or not a new strategy will be prepared.
The Constitutional Council has rejected an amendment to the Loi Evin that would potentially have initiated the end of France’s position in the top of the world’s countries with the strongest alcohol marketing restrictions. France's highest lawmaking body has rejected the amendment, which had already been approved by Parliament, because it deemed the plans to amend a public health law, under the guise of the economic package of the Macron Law, to be ‘not appropriate.’ This is the second time the wine industry initiated amendment to the loi Evin has gone through government. The first time around it was introduced in a health package and did not get approval in parliament. Because the rejection of the amendment was not based on the content of the plans, but on the package of laws it was wrapped up in, it is widely expected that the lobby behind the amendment will reintroduce the plans to the Parliament a third time. It is expected they will try again as a health law, on which voting is planned during the fall of 2015. “This shows again the power of the industry lobby. The loi Evin does not need to be clarified. It is clear enough. It protects young people and is not inciting consumption”, said Claude Rivière of the Association Nationale de Prévention en Alcoologie et Addictologie (ANPAA). Rivière further explained that the Evin law also “allows editorial content on wine so far as the content is informative. The preservation of France as a wine country is in no way threatened by the loi Evin in its current edition. ANPAA asks to preserve the current balance between protection of health and product information as all the parliamentary groups have agreed to do." Source: decanter.com 08/10/15
Twenty public health organisations have resigned from the European Alcohol and Health Forum (EAHF), a stakeholder platform, to protest against the European Commission's refusal to submit a new alcohol strategy. In an open letter sent to Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, the NGOs express "deep concern" that the Commission has no intention of developing a comprehensive EU Alcohol Strategy. Membership of the Forum, which is chaired by DG Sante, includes drinks industry representatives and public health NGOs. More than 20 health bodies, including Eurocare (European Alcohol Policy Alliance), EPHA (European Public Health Alliance) and the CPME (Standing Committee of European Doctors) today tendered their collective resignation in an open letter to Commissioner Andriukaitis. Signatories to the letter outline their “deep concerns” about the neglect of public health and the prioritisation of alcohol industry interests. These include:
- The Commission is ignoring calls from the European Parliament and Member States to develop a new EU Alcohol Strategy - The Commission plans to include alcohol within a wider framework for tackling chronic disease, which would fail to address many harms caused by alcohol to those other than the drinker, such as drink driving, domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation - There is no evidence to show that the EU Alcohol and Health Forum has had any impact on public health - The Forum was established to support the implementation of the previous EU Alcohol Strategy, which ended in 2012. With no new Strategy planned, membership of the Forum cannot be justified.Signatories also expressed disappointment that the Commissioner had rejected requests for public health experts to have a formal structure to meet with Commission officials to discuss alcohol policy, free from vested interest groups. See also: ANDRIUKAITIS ANNOUNCED: THERE WILL BE NO NEW EUROPEAN ALCOHOL STRATEGY (05/31/15) EUROPEAN CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS DECIDE TO LEAVE THE EUROPEAN ALCOHOL AND HEALTH FORUM (30/11/13)