The National, 19th March 2023
INDUSTRY claims about the damage curbs on alcohol marketing would do to the economy and businesses in Scotland should be treated with a “healthy degree of caution”, a charity has insisted.
A Scottish Government consultation seeking people’s initial views on prohibiting booze adverts and alcohol sponsorship closed earlier this month and sparked an outcry from big players such as Diageo and Budweiser.
More than 100 firms which produce alcohol signed an open letter to Holyrood ministers saying “Don’t destroy Scotland’s whisky industry” as they feared a “blanket ban” on alcohol marketing and sponsorship could dent their profits.
But Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, has said she has serious concerns about the alcohol industry fighting for a “seat at the table” over the issue when they have an inherent conflict of interest against reducing people’s drink intake.
Douglas told the Sunday National: “The alcohol industry is reliant on people drinking above the risk guidelines for significant proportion of its profits.
“So there is this inherent conflict between policies which improve public health and these health-harming industries. This is a global attempt – as the tobacco industry did before it – to obstruct progressive public health policies.
“The single biggest concern I have about the recent debate is the alcohol industry is making a claim for a seat at the table.
“The industry are not experts on public health, they’re not experts on alcohol harm, and they have an inherent conflict of interest in reducing alcohol consumption.”
She added how she feels the industry is being “selective” about data it is using to suggest there isn’t a problem with drink in Scotland.