19th October, 2021 by Nicki Jackson. From Newsroom and Protect Our Future. 

In New Zealand, Auckland Council is asking Aucklanders to reduce signs and advertising in liquor stores.

Auckland Council has some points:

– to protect children and vulnerable others from harmful alcohol advertising 

It was found out that Māori and Pasifika children see 5 and 3 times more alcohol advertising than European children. Since it is known that kids are particularly harmed from exposure to alcohol brands and related advertising.

Specifically, research among children in the Wellington region found that outdoor advertising exposure accounted for a significant proportion of total alcohol advertising exposure.

Also, young people experience disproportionately more harm from their drinking than other age groups. Adolescence is also a period with heightened risk to the development of alcohol use disorders. Research shows that almost 50 percent of alcohol abuse and dependence cases in New Zealand are developed by the age of 20 years and 70 percent by age 25.

Additionally, this problem involves vulnerable groups of people; Persons with alcohol abuse and/or dependence may be particularly harmed by advertising exposure by being more responsive to alcohol advertising and imagery (particularly of their favorite drink, of drinking scenes, and alcohol products). This places them at risk of triggering acute craving, relapse and maintaining alcohol dependence. Reducing alcohol cues in outdoor advertisements is an additional way of reducing harm to this population.

The Auckland Community arrived at this point since there more than 1000 off-licence businesses in Auckland that sell takeaway alcohol. More than a half of those are bottles only stores, while the other half sells in the shop and online. On top of it, supermarkets and grocery stores sell beer and wine right next to the break and milk.

Also, Aucklanders with alcohol use disorders are challenged if bombarded with alcohol advertisements around them.

– to improve attractiveness of their communities

The Auckland community has often expressed concerns about the liquor stores’ bright colors, large signs and posters that advertise alcohol products, on top of showing pictures of people drinking. Basically, it is actually difficult to miss a bottle shop.

The Law Commission noted from their substantive review that, advertising and signs are “secondary harm” associated with liquor store density. The review describes these living environments as “alcogenic”, which have the potential to significantly lower the aesthetic value of an area.

They continue by claiming that no one should feel bad about living where they live. However, living in such degraded areas is associated with negative health and social outcomes, such as poorer self-reported health and life satisfaction, and lower levels of residential wellbeing and social trust.  

Restricting signs and advertising at liquor stores can:

  • improve community wellbeing by improving visual amenity;
  • prevent and reduce inequities in alcohol use and harm;
  • reduce the normalisation of alcohol in our communities;
  • reduce exposure to alcohol advertising, particularly protecting children, young people and Aucklanders with alcohol use disorders;
  • assist in creating healthier environments with fewer cues or signals to drink, thereby supporting Aucklanders in their efforts to cut down their alcohol use and reap the many wellbeing benefits from drinking less; and
  • assist Auckland Council to achieve its goal “to be inclusive so that all can share in its benefits and reach their potential”.

Research shows that 80% of New Zealanders support increasing restrictions on alcohol advertising or promotion seen or heard by people under 18 years old.

Find the news at the following links: https://www.protectourfuture.org.nz; https://www.newsroom.co.nz/ideasroom/liquor-advertising-a-blight-on-society


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