The Portman Group, the alcohol industry watchdog, has rubbished a call by the British Medical Association (BMA) and a Tory MP for a ban on alcohol advertising.
The move is in response to Dr Sarah Wollaston's bid to unveil a private member's bill on 30 March that seeks to introduce a French-style ban on all alcoholic advertising. Her bill has the backing of the BMA's Professor Gerard Hastings who said it aims at tackling "two pressing and uncontested problems: the excessive drinking of young people and their massive exposure to alcohol advertising".
David Poley, Portman Group's chief executive said: "I fail to understand why Professor Hastings and his companions are so obsessed with trying to get alcohol advertising banned. A very expensive, recent study found absolutely no association between children's awareness of alcohol marketing and either the onset of drinking or the volume of alcohol they consumed. Professor Hastings should know this - it was his research!"
Poley added: "We have to get past this myth once and for all that exposure to alcohol marketing causes children to drink. The UK already has some of the strictest rules in place to prevent alcohol being marketed to children or in a way that might appeal to them. The call for a French-style advertising ban is entirely unfounded."