Scotland Propose Alcohol Advert Ban
The Scottish government are taking alcohol harm reduction measures a step further by proposing a ban on all TV alcohol adverts pre-watershed (9pm).
Public Health Minister for Scotland, Joe Fitzpatrick, has told BBC News there is already a ban on televised unhealthy food adverts before 9pm. He said this should now be extended to an alcohol advert ban. The recommendation comes in line with the new Scottish Alcohol Framework that has been planned to tackle Scotland’s alcohol problem.
Scotland has a 14% higher alcohol consumption rate that the rest of the UK. It has already introduced minimum pricing on alcohol. The government are now urging alcohol manufacturers to include health warnings on their produce labels as a further deterrent and education measure.
Some Welcome Alcohol Marketing Changes
Alcohol Focus Scotland has welcomed the proposed changes to how alcohol is marketed, especially the proposals regarding the labelling of alcohol.
Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, Alison Douglas said: “It is clearly unacceptable that more information is required on a pint of milk than a bottle of wine and the industry continues to show a complete disregard for our right to know what is in our drinks and what the risks associated with alcohol consumption are.”
The British Medical Association also has also given its seal of approval to the strategy. It is particularly in favour of its focus on young people. By removing alcohol advertisements pre-watershed, the Scottish government feels that this helps to support alcohol free childhoods through reduced exposure.
The new proposed measures are part of a 20 point strategy plan that targets alcohol abuse, including harm reduction measures and education for the younger generation.
Will Alcohol Advert Ban Reduce Hospital Admissions?
Official figures released by NHS Scotland revealed that during 2017 a staggering 35,499 individuals were admitted to hospital for an alcohol related illness.
- 97 admitted to hospital daily for alcohol on average
- 23,494 admitted had a previous alcohol related admission
- 11,566 people were admitted for alcohol related illness for the first time
- 2,775 were admitted to psychiatric hospitals for alcohol related mental health
The National Records of Scotland recorded 1,120 alcohol-specific deaths for Scotland in 2017.
The Scottish Alcohol Framework – Preventing Harm for 2018 documents Scotland’s preventative measures and objectives. They hope to reduce alcohol harm with plans to reduce the availability and affordability of alcohol. The government hope that that this will result in reduced alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence and alcohol consumption levels.
Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “We’ve got 14% higher consumption of alcohol than the rest of the UK – and the UK is about the worst in western Europe, so we have our issues that we need to resolve.”
The Alcohol framework plan also contains guidelines and strategies on educating the younger generation as to the dangers of alcohol abuse. This is very important in raising awareness and as part of comprehensive alcohol harm prevention plan.
Establishing a Healthy Respect for Alcohol
If we compare Scotland to some of the other European countries, attitudes to alcohol vary considerably. An alcohol advert ban may help in this. Scotland has a large drinking culture where it is more acceptable to drink than to not drink. Binge drinking and drinking to excess is often encouraged as an acceptable way of having fun or releasing stress.
In other EU countries a more pragmatic approach is taken towards alcohol. It seen as something to be savoured and enjoyed with a meal or as part of a celebration.
What we know of alcohol addiction is that repeated exposure to large quantities of alcohol cause chemical changes to the brain that can trigger alcoholism. Perhaps this is why there are more cases of hospital admissions, alcohol consumption, alcohol dependence and alcohol specific deaths in Scotland and the UK in comparison to the rest of the EU.
Step by Step Recovery feel that it is not alcohol availability that needs to change but the individuals attitude towards it. In order for this to happen, more alcohol awareness needs to be raised through education. We need to encourage activities other than drinking alcohol.
Scotland Lacks Quality Alcohol Treatment
Scotland is severely struggling with an overwhelming drug and alcohol problem. However, it has far fewer drug and alcohol rehabs than England. England is saturated with private rehab clinics and the private sector is still generally stable. However, private treatment for alcohol is also very costly in Scotland with very few cheap rehab options. In addition, Scotland is also economically worse off than most of the rest of the UK. Many public-funded centres are being shut down due to government cutbacks.
If you or a loved one suffer from alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction, seeking appropriate treatment should not be delayed. So, if you are on a budget and looking for affordable, high quality rehab centre, Step by Step Recovery can help. We offer services regardless of where you are living in the UK.