Thursday, May 9, 2019

A New Study Published in The Lancet Calls for a Ban Globally on Alcohol Advertising

     It seems that alcohol is heading down the path that smoking took before it.  The alcohol industry has not on its own regulated the advertisement programs, and if it doesn’t soon, the restrictions will follow just like they did for the smoking industries.  This is a wake-up call that the industry needs to take very seriously.

    A major report on global alcohol consumption has recommended an international ban on alcohol marketing and advertising.  The world is “not on track” to achieve targets to reduce harmful drinking, according to a new report in The Lancet journal.    The study, published in The Lancet, looked at alcohol intake in 189 countries between 1990 and 2017, during which time consumption increased from 5.9 liters of pure alcohol a year per adult to 6.5 liters. Researchers forecast that consumption will further increase to 7.6 liters by 2030.  As a result of increased alcohol consumption and population growth, the total volume of alcohol consumed globally per year has increased by 70% in the past 27 years.

     The report highlights the shifting geography of drinking levels, with reductions in Europe more than offset by increases in Southeast Asia. In particular, alcohol intake increased in countries with a growing middle class, such as India, China and Vietnam. By 2030, Europe is no longer predicted to have the highest level of alcohol use.   The estimates also suggest that by 2030 half of all adults will drink alcohol, and almost a quarter, 23% will binge drink at least once a month.
According to researchers, increasing rates of alcohol use mean the world is “not on track” to achieve targets to reduce harmful drinking. The World Health Organization (WHO) is aiming to see a 10% reduction in harmful alcohol use by 2025.   The volume of alcohol consumed is growing faster than the number of drinkers, leading to an “increased alcohol-attributable disease burden”.

    “Based on the data, the aim of reducing the harmful use of alcohol by 10% by 2025 will not be reached globally,” according to author Jakob Manthey,.     “Instead, alcohol use will remain one of the leading risk factors for the burden of disease for the foreseeable future, and its impact will probably increase relative to other risk factors. Implementation of effective alcohol policies is warranted, especially in rapidly developing countries with growing rates of alcohol use.”  The report researchers are calling for the implementation of measures including increased taxation, restricted availability, and a ban on alcohol marketing and advertising at a global level.  Price or availability-based policies are important, strict restrictions on advertising and other promotional activities are crucial to slow the growing demand for alcohol in these countries.