Trinidad and Tobago, 18 dec. 2018

THE EDITOR: The most revolting ads on television are those that glorify the drinking of rum, whisky and other alcoholic beverages. Such advertising is prevalent during prime time, especially the 7 pm newscasts, when many minors may be watching.

The ravages of alcohol are well known and well documented. You can also ask anyone involved with Alcoholics Anonymous. It can affect not only the people who consume it, and their families, but complete strangers (by drunk driving, for instance). It is a drain on the healthcare system.

Some years ago, we banned the advertising of tobacco products. According to the Tobacco Control Act, “No person shall initiate, produce, publish, engage or participate in any tobacco advertising, promotion or sponsorship.”

No such prohibition applies to alcohol. Yet one could argue that the negative consequences of alcohol consumption are as bad as (in some cases worse than) smoking cigarettes.

Our society is riddled with hypocrisy and double standards when it comes to alcohol and tobacco. Every rum shop/bar sells alcohol and cigarettes. Both products are responsible for millions of deaths worldwide every year.

We ban smoking in airplanes, yet they ply you with as much alcohol as you care to drink. Why the inconsistency? We pay lip service to the damage caused by alcohol even as we advertise it to minors. It’s time to stop.

We did the right thing when we banned tobacco advertising. It’s time we do the same for alcohol. Doing so will hardly affect sales. However, we must do what little we can to protect impressionable minds.


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