The AMA is calling on the Federal Government to launch an inquiry into the marketing of alcohol amid an unprecedented push by the industry to lure young people into early and potentially harmful drinking patterns.
AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that it was clear self-regulation by the alcohol industry had failed, and a Federal Inquiry was needed to look at the extent of alcohol marketing to teenagers and young people, and to develop more stringent and enforceable regulations.
“Alcohol marketing is a pervasive and dangerous presence in the lives of our young people,” Dr Hambleton said.
“Young people are starting to drink at an earlier age, and most drink in ways that put their health at risk.
“But the current voluntary industry-administered approach to marketing regulation has failed to stem the growth and impact of alcohol marketing in Australia.
“It is time for a proper inquiry into alcohol marketing and regulation, which exposes the failure of the current regime and proposes realistic and enforceable Government sanctions,” Dr Hambleton said.
Dr Hambleton’s call was backed by eminent British public health advocate, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, who has been at the forefront of efforts to reform alcohol policy in the United Kingdom.
Sir Ian, who is guest speaker at an alcohol policy forum hosted by the AMA at Parliament House today, said the UK and Australia faced similar health problems caused by drinking, particularly among young people.
Sir Ian said that in both countries, efforts to tackle the problem were being undermined by the alcohol industry, which was exploiting significant gaps in policy to promote drinking.
While some progress was being made in the UK, such as moves to introduce a minimum floor price for alcohol, Sir Ian said a recent upsurge in alcohol marketing, particularly directed at young people, was a critical issue.
In a recent major report, Alcohol Marketing and Young People: Time for a new policy agenda, the AMA highlighted the tricks and methods used by alcohol companies in marketing their products to young people, including extensive use of social media.
The report can be viewed at: https://ama.com.au/alcohol-marketing-and-young-people
18 February, 2013
CONTACT: Adrian Rollins 02 6270 5467 / 0417 363 526