The Scottish Greens have added their support to Alcohol Focus Scotland’s campaign to end alcohol marketing in childhood. The #alcoholfreekids campaign is also endorsed by children’s charities, health groups, NHS boards, local Alcohol and Drug Partnerships, and more than 30 MSPs.
Alcohol advertising is ever-present in the lives of our children and young people, whether they are waiting for the school bus, using social media, at the cinema or watching sport. There is clear evidence that exposure to alcohol marketing leads children to start drinking at an earlier age and to drink more.
As well as action on alcohol marketing, the Greens have also strengthened their party policy on reducing alcohol harm, including actions to reduce the affordability and availability of alcohol.
Alison Douglas, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said:
“We are delighted that the Scottish Greens have added their support to this important campaign. Alcohol companies are bombarding us with positive messages about alcohol. And it’s working – children as young as 10 years old are more familiar with beer brands than leading ice cream and biscuit brands. The Scottish Government need to take action now. A good start would be to ban alcohol advertising in public spaces and to phase out alcohol sponsorship in sport. Our children deserve to grow up free from commercial pressures to drink alcohol.”
Alison Johnstone MSP, the Scottish Greens’ health spokesperson, said:
“Action to tackle alcohol consumption is thankfully high up the political agenda in Scotland. However, we need to complement existing strategies with a greater focus on preventing alcohol from being marketed to children. It’s all too easy for children to be influenced by the adverts they see on television and at sports events, an industry that’s seen several sponsorship deals with alcohol companies in recent years. Tackling Scotland’s alcohol problems must include a prevention strategy that starts with the youngest members in society.”