30 Mar 2011

Expert Comment on the Private Member’s Bill on Alcohol Advertising

Professor Gerard Hastings, The Open University Business School

Professor Gerard Hastings, The Open University Business School

Open University Professor of Social Marketing Gerard Hastings, who is also director of the Institute for Social Marketing and Centre for Tobacco Control Research at Stirling University, said the introduction of the private member’s bill was “a positive step towards protecting children and young people from harmful advertising”.

“Young people are being absolutely drowned in alcohol advertising and promotion. There’s now a steady stream of evidence showing that the increasing consumption of alcohol advertising is associated with a greater number of people drinking from a young age.

“Recent research has painted a powerful picture of young people being inundated with messages that depict drinking as normal, fun and something we should be doing all the time, which is an unhelpful norm.

“But this is not a ban on alcohol advertising; it’s simply aiming to reduce vast swathes of it to protect children and young people, and also to make it more factual so that consumers can make informed decisions.

“We know there are serious health issues attached to drinking so we want to change behaviour in society. People should be able to choose not to drink without being made to feel as though they have to excuse themselves.”

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