The call for banning alcohol advertisements has reached the Parliament. In the annual conference held by the British Medical Association (BMA), more than 30 leading medical bodies and charities made a resolution that will add more pressure in the government’s plan to reduce the rate of binge-drinking in the country. After the proposal to set a minimum price for alcoholic drinks, health organisations and doctors are now asking the government to completely ban alcohol advertisements on TV. The legislation has been brought to the table by GP and Tory MP Sarah Wollaston.
Earlier this year, Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer has urged the government to set a minimum price of alcoholic beverages to 50p. However, PM Gordon Brown disagreed, saying he doesn’t want to see the majority of moderate drinkers suffer from paying too high for these products because of the issues concerning the minority.
But for doctors, this could mean reducing the rate of illnesses resulting from chronic alcohol consumption. During the conference, Dr Chandra Mohank from London said that the hospital admissions due to alcohol-related diseases have doubled in the past decade. She also cited a survey which states that around 360,000 children ages 11 to 15 get drunk every week.
The BMA added that the price increase in hospital admissions could reduce hospital admissions by 100,000 in a year, saving the government spending for up to £1.37bn for over a decade. In the report by the Liberal Democrats, it was shown that a child 12 years and below is being admitted to the hospital ever 48 hours due to binge drinking. According Norman Lamb of the Liberal Democrats, their report shows shocking evidence of the alcohol crisis the country is facing and if nothing will be done, it’ll get worse. In Scotland, the Scottish government has confirmed to set a minimum price for alcohol of 50p per unit.
In addition to the price increase, the BMA urges the government to implement a stricter law in labelling and a total ban on advertising of such products.
But the critics of this movement say banning alcohol advertisements aren’t likely to reduce the demand for alcoholic products. This is because advertising isn’t the only way to promote. For instance, manufacturers of alcoholic drinks may spend the money allocated for TV ads into research and development that might lead to the creation of more irresistible alcoholic drinks. It may also a good reason for manufacturers to reduce the current prices of alcoholic products, unless of course if the government will pursue the minimum pricing. And when there are cheaper alcoholic drinks, more consumers will be enticed to buy. Instead of removing the right of these companies to promote their products through advertisements, critics challenge the BMA to focus discouraging consumers to binge drink.
How about you, are you in favour of the BMA’s call to ban alcohol advertising? Why or why not?
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