NHS Health Scotland
Outcome Indicators


m. Evidence for restrictions on advertising in relation to young people


Meier P., et al. 2008. Independent Review of the Effects of Alcohol Pricing and Promotion. Department of Health: London

WHO. 2009. Evidence for the effectiveness and cost–effectiveness of interventions to reduce alcohol-related harm. World Health Organisation: Europe

The University of Sheffield, School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR). 2009. Final draft of Report 1 Macro Level Interventions for Alcohol Use Disorders: Effectiveness Review to the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence. National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence.

Babor, T., Caetano, R., Casswell, S., Edwards, G., Giesbrecht, N., Graham, K., et al.  2010. Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity. Research and Public Policy. 2ND Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

NICE PHG024. Alcohol-use disorders: preventing the development of hazardous and harmful drinking. National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence.

There is evidence for effectiveness of:

  1. Restricting volume of advertising in reducing consumption at population level and consumption of alcohol by young people at an individual level

  2. Restricting exposure to outdoor advertising, or advertisements in the media in decreasing the likelihood of young people starting to drink, the amount they drink, and the amount they drink on any one occasion

  3. Advertising bans having a positive effect in reducing consumption

NICEPHG024 Recommendations:

  1. Ensure children and young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising is as low as possible by considering a review of the current advertising codes. This review would ensure:

    1. the limits set by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for the proportion of the audience under age 18 are appropriate

    2.  where alcohol advertising is permitted there is adequate protection for children and young people

    3. all alcohol marketing, particularly when it involves new media (for example, web-based channels and mobile phones) and product placement, is covered by a stringent regulatory system which includes ongoing monitoring of practice.

  2. Ofcom, the ASA and the government should keep the current regulatory structure under review.

  3. Assess the potential costs and benefits of a complete alcohol advertising ban to protect children and young people from exposure to alcohol marketing.

 SCOTTISH POLICY NOTE: Restrictions on advertising in relation to young people were addressed in the recent alcohol policy framework; ‘Changing Scotland's Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action’ (2009).  The framework outlined the Government’s commitment to urge the UK Government to develop a UK approach to advertising which unequivocally protects children from exposure to alcohol advertising, whether on television, on line, or in the cinema e.g. apply a ban on television alcohol advertising before the 9.00pm watershed. They also back the development of a co-regulatory approach - working with industry, the UK Government and advertising regulatory bodies, which could address this issue effectively.