Alcoholic Drinks: Advertising

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 17th December 2018.

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Photo of Ronnie Cowan Ronnie Cowan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Infrastructure)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will include alcohol products in the proposed consultation on a 9pm watershed on the advertising of unhealthy foods.

Photo of Margot James Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

In the second chapter of the Government's Childhood Obesity Plan, published in June, we committed to consult by the end of 2018 on introducing a 9pm watershed on TV advertising of HFSS products and similar protection for children viewing adverts online - with the aim of limiting children’s exposure to HFSS advertising, and incentivising sugar and calorie reduction.

Alcohol advertising is not in scope for this work because the consultation is focused on products that children consume.

As with HFSS advertising, alcohol advertising in the UK is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the industry’s independent regulator, who enforce the Advertising Codes through a system of self-regulation and co-regulation with Ofcom. The Codes apply to all media, including broadcast and online, and set standards for accuracy and honesty to which advertisers are expected to adhere, including specific conditions on advertising to children, causing offence and social responsibility.

The Codes recognise the social imperative of ensuring alcohol advertising is responsible. They are regularly reviewed and updated by the industry to ensure they remain effective, and proposed changes to the Codes are routinely subject to public consultation. The Codes currently state that alcohol advertising must not be targeted at people under 18 and “should not imply, condone or encourage immoderate, irresponsible or anti-social drinking.

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