Leading health researchers in the UK have last week pleaded for an EU-wide ban on alcohol marketing during a hearing for the House of Lords. The researchers were invited to give their views on the proposed new European Alcohol Strategy.
In its consideration of a new European Alcohol Strategy, the Home Affairs, Health and Education EU sub-committee of the House of Lords is gathering evidence to evaluate the previous Alcohol Strategy, which ran from 2006 to 2012. In a hearing earlier last week the sub-committee talked to Professor Peter Anderson, of Newcastle University, Professor Gerard Hastings of the Institute for Social Marketing at the University of Stirling and Professor Petra Meier of the University of Sheffield.
Among other things the leading health researchers where asked if they agree that there should be a new EU Alcohol Strategy and, if so, what its focus and priorities should be as well as their views on issues including minimum unit pricing, restrictions on advertising and the availability of alcohol.
During the hearing the researchers suggested that EU countries should treat alcohol and tobacco equally and ban all marketing. The idea for having advertisers provide evidence of the practices in alcohol marketing was put forward by Professor Hastings. Consequently, a warning went out from the Advertising Association and the IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) notifying their members that they may be called to the House of Lords to give evidence on marketing alcohol.
The hearing is one of a series, having recently also included one with health officials and having planned later this month a hearing with Alcohol research organizations the Institute of Alcohol Studies, Alcohol Focus Scotland, as well as the University of Southampton.