Parents want limits on alcohol advertising – survey

The majority of parents want alcohol advertising limited to certain times of the day in order to protect their children, a survey suggests.

Some 71% of parents want alcohol ads restricted on television, with the same number wanting restrictions on social media and the internet, the YouGov poll for the Alcohol and Families Alliance (AFA) indicates.

The poll found that more than half of parents (52%) believe that alcohol ads should not be seen by children under 18 at all, while 67% think that alcohol advertising ‘normalises’ drinking for most people.

Independent research has previously found that 10 to 15-year-olds were 11% more likely to see alcohol adverts on television than adults. This exposure increased to 51% for alcopops ads.

Furthermore, more than half (56%) of ads seen by children aged four to 15 years aired before 9pm.

Current restrictions apply to programmes, films or websites which are considered to be ‘of particular appeal to children’. It does not cover content regularly watched by children but not targeted at them.

The latest survey findings come as ministers consider restrictions for ads featuring food that is high in fat, sugar and salt in a bid to reduce childhood obesity.

Vivienne Evans, from the Alcohol and Families Alliance, said: “We know from research that exposure to alcohol advertising makes children more likely to drink at an earlier age and to drink more when they do.

“Children and young people deserve protection from harmful products. We’re urging the Government to include advertising in the restrictions it is considering for junk food.

“The current ‘self-policing’ regulatory framework for alcohol marketing is ineffective. It’s vital that tighter regulations are introduced for TV, radio, online, social media and apps advertising – including a watershed to protect young people.”

The AFA is encouraging people to write to their MP calling for alcohol to be included in the junk food restrictions, including a watershed to protect children at the time they are most likely to watch television.

Advertising Association chief executive Stephen Woodford said: “Responsible advertising of alcohol products is something our industry takes very seriously and the UK has one of the world’s most robust regulatory environments for this sector, overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

“The amount of alcohol advertising children see is extremely low and a report earlier this year from the ASA showed that alcohol ads made up 0.6% of all TV ads children saw in 2017, equating to around 22.1 seconds per week.

“In addition, according to the NHS, there has been a decline in the proportion of 15-year-olds who consumed alcohol in the last week from 48% in 2000 to 18% in 2014 – the last year for which comparable figures are available.

“We remain vigilant to the importance of alcohol advertising as an area of public interest and that advertising should always encourage responsible drinking among adults.”

YouGov surveyed 1,179 parents with children aged 18 or under between May 31 and June 5.

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