Alcohol is big business. Alcohol advertising and event sponsorship – also big business. But is the latter going to go the way of the dodo, much like tobacco advertising and sponsorship has in many (most) countries around the world? Quite possibly. Róisín Shortall, Irish Minister of State for Health, has vowed to end alcohol industry’s sponsorship of sporting events in Ireland. This bold statement came in response to various reports about how many Irish children and teenagers were drinking, how much they were drinking, and the negative effects on both their health and society.
In other news, the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) submitted a report to the House of Commons health select committee in Britain, calling for an end to alcohol sponsorship of sporting events and to television advertising. The end of alcohol ads on TV is an even bolder step being proposed by the AHA, however the health select committee appears to have shelved the idea for the time being.
While there have been some calls in Canada for stricter regulation of alcohol advertising and sponsorship, nothing has come to fruition, and the industry is quite active in protecting their interests. So what’s your take on this? Should we continue to allow alcohol advertising and sponsorship to “roam free”, undeterred by legislation or regulation? Or, like tobacco, should our government restrict the ways in which companies who sell alcohol can advertise their products?