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EU calls for drinks industry to curb rising alcohol abuse

Published:  23 July, 2008

The European Commissioner for health is urging the alcoholic drinks industry to step up its fight against the rising binge drinking culture.

The forum is similar to the self-regulation approach Brussels took last year with the food industry to combat obesity, rather than proposing tough laws like those which exist to combat smoking.

Kyprianou was criticised by some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) last year for not pushing ahead with measures such as a ban on sponsorship and advertising, warning labels and an EU-wide minimum drinking age.

The new forum comprises more than 40 business and non-governmental organisations and is due to agree on its first targets by November.

The Commission will review progress at the end of each year.

The European Spirits Organisation, representing companies such Pernod Ricard, described the forum as "an important step forward."

Ministers in London last week launched an independent review into price and promotions in the on-and-off-trade, blamed for the rise in binge drinking and alcohol-related antisocial behaviour.

The EU is the heaviest drinking region in the world, with 55m adults estimated to drink at harmful levels.

Alcohol contributes to the deaths of 195,000 people in the 27-nation bloc every year, according to EU figures.

Should the Government curb heavy discounting? Go to discussions to comment.

News source: Reuters.

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