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Stop saturating our kids!:

Public health agencies have combined to help shame alcohol companies into stopping advertising to kids.
By Motherpedia
Date: November 08 2013
Editor Rating:

With new figures showing that the recent AFL and rugby league grand finals were two of the highest rating programs for under 18 year olds in all capital cities in Australia, leading health groups have combined for a new campaign aimed at stopping alcohol ads when large numbers of children are watching TV.

“Research shows us that alcohol marketing on TV is saturating places and times when children are watching, particularly during sporting events like the NRL finals series and the AFL grand final,” says Sondra Davoren, representing a coalition of public health agencies.

“Sporting broadcasts are extremely popular with children, who watch them in greater numbers than cartoons. In 2012, 18% of the NRL's grand final broadcast contained some form of alcohol promotion and the 2012 AFL grand final featured a similar amount of alcohol advertising.”

Research has found that children who regularly see alcohol advertising are more likely to start drinking at a younger age and drink at harmful levels as an adult. And the more alcohol advertising that a young person sees, the more alcohol they are likely to drink. Drinking from a young age damages the human brain, and increases the risk of having alcohol problems as a teenager and an adult.

Alcohol advertising on commercial television is usually banned during children's viewing hours and may only be shown between 8.30pm and 5.00am, but an exemption allows alcohol companies to promote their products during live sport broadcasts regardless of the time of the day.

An estimated 388,000 Australian children watched this year’s live telecast of the AFL grand final.

“Every weekend, almost half of all alcohol ads are aired before 8.30 pm, when kids are watching in large numbers. If alcohol advertising doesn't belong during kids’ cartoons, why is it okay during live sport when it is likely more children will be watching? It’s about time something was done to protect Australian children from alcohol marketing,” said Ms Davoren.

"We are echoing calls from the Australian Medical Association (AMA) for a Parliamentary Inquiry into alcohol advertising and promotion and the ways that it targets young people. There is an urgent need for a rethink of the way alcohol is marketed and promoted in Australia.

“We urge Free TV and the Minister for Communications (Malcolm Turnbull) to close the exemption that allows alcohol to be advertised during live sport," said Ms Davoren.

There is strong community support for restricting alcohol advertising from times and in places where it is likely to reach a significant number of children and young people. Two-thirds of Australians support a ban on alcohol advertising on television before 8.30pm. 

A recent survey undertaken by the Salvation Army indicated that 73% of Australians believe that alcohol and sport have become too closely related in Australia today. 

The centrepiece of the Alcohol Ad Shame campaign is a website including a satirical You Tube video. 

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