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WHO presses for ban on alcohol ads

Published:  23 July, 2008

Campaigns target youth

Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, head of the World Health Organization (WHO), has called for stricter controls on alcohol advertising. Addressing a WHO European ministerial conference in Stockholm, she also accused the drinks industry of manipulative marketing campaigns targeting youth. According to a WHO report released at the conference, five extra minutes a day of alcohol advertising on TV is associated with a rise of 5g in daily alcohol consumption among young people. In 1999, 55,000 people aged 15-29 died from alcohol-related causes in Europe, and alcohol is the biggest single killer among young men, accounting for one in four deaths. Scandinavian and other OECD countries which ban alcohol advertising have about 16% lower alcohol consumption and 23% fewer traffic deaths than those with no restrictions. WHO will be organising a meeting of experts in Spain later this year to review alcohol marketing targeting youth.