We are beginning to see an increase in demands for alcohol advertising to be banned at sporting events. The Ministry of Education in Cambodia wants alcohol advertising at sports events to be outlawed to prevent the use of alcohol among children and young people. “Factors that attract children and young people to drink alcohol are due to the influence of alcohol promotion in public places, education institutions, schools and via media,” said a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education. The New Zealand government is currently considering similar legislation. They acknowledge there is a problem but are aware that the issue is a complex one. The banning of advertising is likely to extend beyond sporting events in the future.
Why is it important?
These laws are meant to stop the glamorisation of alcohol and to discourage underage drinking.
Often alcohol marketing is of a promotional kind where free samples are distributed, further encouraging consumption. Alcohol is also a major contributor to road fatalities, as was evidenced during our COVID-19 lockdown, when a ban was found to reduce the number of casualty ward admissions. About 30% of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. Drinking at an early age is associated with many problems, including impairment of brain development, increased risk of mental health disorders, alcohol poisoning, injuries and accidents.
What can businesses do about it?
Businesses that manufacture alcohol are advised to carry out awareness campaigns to educate the public on the ills of heavy drinking. For example, alcohol manufacturer Diageo has been conducting an educational campaign in conjunction with talk radio station 702 where listeners are encouraged to take their DRINKIQ test to test their knowledge on the effects of drinking and to encourage responsible consumption. For the youth, this could take place at schools and universities. Alcohol is universally considered a harmful substance when consumed in excessive quantities. Even a little can impair one’s ability to drive a motor vehicle. It’s in the public’s best interests for more alcohol manufacturers to educate instead of solely prioritising sales. Social media platforms should monitor new alcohol marketing techniques, especially on platforms popular with young people.
By Faeeza Khan
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