The South African cabinet has approved that a draft Bill banning alcohol advertising should be gazetted for public comment.
“The intention of the Bill is to reduce the exposure to the advertising and promotion of alcohol,” said Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini on Friday September 20th. She said Cabinet approved that the Control of Marketing of Alcohol Beverages Bill should be gazetted for public comment on Wednesday.
Dlamini explained that it is the state’s responsibility to protect the health and well-being of South Africans and that scientific research indicated that alcohol advertising influences drinking behaviour negatively.
Studies show that alcohol advertising fosters positive beliefs about drinking and encourages young people to drink alcohol sooner and in greater quantities, said Dlamini.
She said that “alcohol advertising glamorises and encourages the use of a product that causes serious harm to individuals and to society and, despite claims from the industry that children and youth are not targeted, international research indicates that advertising does influence child and youth behaviour. Dlamini stressed that the Bill was drafted on the basis of scientific evidence.
Experts involved in the drafting on the Tobacco Control and Tobacco Control Amendment Acts gave an input and the regulatory assessment indicated that a comprehensive approach was the preferred option.
“Alcohol consumption in South Africa results in significant morbidity and mortality, increases violence, crime and road traffic crashes, has major consequences for individuals, families and communities and impacts negatively on education and the economy,” said the Social Development Minister.
“The tangible cost to the country of alcohol-related harm across government departments have been estimated at around R38-billion, while research indicates that the intangible costs could be as high as R240-billion.” According to Dlamini the tangible cost is twice what government receives from excise tax and value added tax on alcohol combined.