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Doctors Call For End To Cheap Booze Deals

Cheap deals on alcoholic drinks should be illegal, a new report is proposing, with a call for tighter controls on the marketing of alcohol.

The British Medical Association (BMA) argues young people are highly influenced by advertising and price deals, which encourage them to drink excessively.

Its latest report will make recommendations on regulating alcohol adverts and the sponsorship of sports stars and events by alcoholic brands.

It will also call for changes in the law relating to the pricing of alcohol – criticising deals like two-for-one offers and happy hours.

It is not the first time the doctors’ organisation has called for action to tackle the country’s binge drinking culture.

In the past it has suggested the Government is too close to the alcohol industry to regulate it effectively.

It is not clear whether the BMA wants an end to booze ads on television altogether – but according to branding consultant Graham Hales the advertising of alcohol has already changed radically in recent years because of tight rules.

“A code places restrictions and challenges around what it is that you are able to communicate,” he said.

“So, in a similar way to how cigarette advertising, in its final tenure, was quite surreal and quite cryptic and difficult to interpret, we are now beginning to see alcohol advertising move in a similar direction because it is just not allowed to say the things that it used to be able to.”

Others question whether calls for change from bodies like the BMA can really make a difference in countering the multi-million pound marketing industry around alcohol.

Nick Barton, chief executive of Action on Addiction, acknowledged: “It may take some time but we have to keep getting the message across.”

Yet he is realistic on where the most powerful change has to occur in order to curb Britain’s binge drinking.

“Cultures change from within – we have to find a way to show young people that you can have fun, celebrate and relax, without necessarily always having to resort to alcohol.”

The BMA’s report will add to the pressure on the Government to look at ways of reducing the country’s excessive drinking habit, which costs the NHS just under £2bn a year in treating alcohol-related illnesses.

source: Sky News

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