7 Mar 2013

Call for regulation to counter alcohol promotions

9:40 pm on 7 March 2013

A behavioural studies expert says it is time to consider banning alcohol industry advertising and sponsorship in sport.

Kerry O'Brien from Monash University in Melbourne was a keynote speaker at a conference titled The Perils of Alcohol Marketing held in Wellington on Thursday.

Dr O'Brien has carried out research in New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Britain and said evidence shows that advertising of alcohol is everywhere in society - especially in sport.

He told the conference where there is industry sponsorship of adult sports clubs children appear to be influenced, and it is time to do more about the role of alcohol.

"Current alcohol advertising codes are weak, poorly designed and poorly enforced. New codes need to be developed and enshrined in law and administered independently of vested interests."

Another keynote speaker, health researcher Antonia Lyons, said alcohol industry self-regulation is not working and tougher action is needed.

Dr Lyons teaches health psychology at Massey University in Wellington and unveiled results of a three-year research project looking at the effects of social networking sites and digital technologies on drinking by young people.

She said there is a culture of intoxification and Facebook is fully part of that drinking culture.

"All we need to do is look at the online material to see that industry regulation isn't working. The ways in which alcohol products are promoted on Facebook violate the industry's own codes.

"It's not just in the content, but how easily accessible this content is to under-age young people - but it's a perfect way to capture the next generation of drinkers."