The Scottish Government asked our #YSHealth panel of volunteers to develop ideas, recommendations and solutions to protect young people from alcohol marketing in Scotland. Our volunteers presented their findings and recommendations to Ministers Maree Todd MSP and Joe FitzPatrick MSP.

#YSHealth is a panel of young people who co-create information content to ensure we are meeting the health information needs of young people from across Scotland. The young people kicked-off the project by getting to know the national landscape for alcohol marketing as well as reflecting on their own experiences of alcohol marketing.

As part of their research, the young people thought about what alcohol marketing they had seen, what messages this marketing was sending, and how messages are targeted at young people. They also interviewed experts, including Dr David Jernigan (Boston University), Vivienne MacLaren (Scottish Women’s Football), and and Lydia Marshall (Advertising Standards Authority).


Following their research, the young people created recommendations to reduced the harm of alcohol advertising. These recommendations are designed to transform the landscape for young people’s relationship with alcohol in Scotland. They will help to reduce harm, and enable young people to make choices for themselves without the pressure to drink alcohol. The recommendations include: 

  • Create an independent regulating body for alcohol advertising.

  • Devolve power to regulate TV and cinema advertising to the Scottish Government.

  • Only allow alcohol advertising before films that have an 18 certificate.

  • Introduce a watershed for alcohol advertising on television.

  • Prohibit alcohol marketing on billboards and posters near to schools, nurseries and playgrounds, and on public transport vehicles, stops and stations.

  • Stop using real people or human-like figures in alcohol advertising.

  • Offer accreditation to sports ‘Family Friendly’ venues that reduce alcohol advertising on display, limit the number of alcoholic drinks a person can buy, and hosting a number of alcohol-free events per year.

  • Stop the sale or giveaways of alcohol-branded merchandise (such as t-shirts and wristbands) at cultural or sporting events.

  • Restrict alcohol brands from using packaging with bright colours and imagery that young people find appealing.

  • Require prominent and clear health warnings on the effects of alcohol on the front of packaging.

  • Run a campaign, co-created with young people, to make young people aware of the advertising techniques used to target them.

  • Introduce digital identification for online alcohol purchases and make age verification on delivery of alcohol products mandatory.

  • Promote the Proof of Age Standard Scheme on the Young Scot National Entitlement Card as a way to verify age, fines those who don’t comply.

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