Doctors urge alcohol ad restrictions

3pm: The Royal College of Physicians has criticised media regulator Ofcom for its rules on alcohol advertising as “weak” and hinted that a 9pm watershed should be introduced.

The call comes after the body said the country remained “in a vortex of alcohol misuse” despite the introduction of the government’s Public Health White Paper, called Choosing Health, which it criticised as focusing too heavily on law and order issues surrounding rather than health concerns.

Alongside asking for more research into the cultural influences on the UK’s alcohol habits, the RCP said plans to restrict on junk food advertising – outlined in the White Paper in November last year – should also include measures to target booze-related ad campaigns.

A statement said: “The advertising regulations continue to be ambiguous and difficult to implement, even after Ofcom’s proposed changes.

“Choosing Health offers options for restricting junk food advertising to children including a possible 9pm watershed, yet no such restrictions are suggested for alcohol.

“There is surely an obligation that advertisers make clear the contents and risks in understandable language.

The RCP and the co-authors of the report, the British Society of Gastroenterology, said the two groups were not “anti-drink” but action must be taken to clamp down on the social, physical and mental affects related to the UK’s increased drinking levels.

By Kevin May

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