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Health lobby wants alcohol sponsorship ban

A powerful alliance of health professionals wants a French-style ban on alcoholic drinks advertising on television and at sports events in the UK.

The Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) has called on the government to introduce its own version of France’sLoi Evin‘. The Evin law, passed in 1991, bans wineries and other drinks makers from sponsoring cultural or sporting events and also prohibits television and cinema advertising.

Buoyed by the UK government’s decision to embrace minimum pricing, albeit not until 2014 at the earliest, the AHA is pressing for stricter alcohol marketing rules.

Proposals within the government’s recently published alcohol strategy ‘do not go far enough to curb children’s exposure to alcohol advertising’, said the lobby group, which includes the Royal College of Physicians, in a written submission to the House of Commons Health Select Committee.  

This week, the Committee will hold its final oral evidence session on the government’s alcohol strategy, which covers England and Wales. Scotland is free to set its own policy.

There is, for now, little evidence that ministers share the AHA’s tough stance on marketing. ‘The government itself has said that an advertising ban would be disproportionate in light of the current evidence,’ a spokesperson for the drinks industry’s self-regulatory body, The Portman Group, told Decanter.com.

‘We are currently reviewing our entire Code, which includes marketing and sponsorship rules,’ she said.

A spokesperson for the Wine & Spirit Trade Association said that ‘the UK already has some of the strictest rules on alcohol advertising and marketing in the world’.

Written by Chris Mercer

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