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Children should be protected from alcohol advertising, campaigners urge

Campaigners in Scotland are urging the government to prioritise protecting children from alcohol marketing, amid fears it could reduce the age that young people start drinking.

Research has shown that exposure to alcohol marketing reduces the age at which young people start to drink, increases the likelihood that they will drink and increases the amount of alcohol they will consume once they have started to drink, the campaigners say.

British Medical Association Scotland, has joined forces with SHAAP (Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems), Alcohol Focus Scotland and Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs to call on Scotland's politicians ahead of the upcoming Holyrood Scottish election in May.

Alison Douglas, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland explained: “The current codes are failing to protect children. It's time to take effective action in Scotland and ensure our children can play, learn and socialise in places that are free from alcohol marketing.

“Everyone agrees that children shouldn't see alcohol advertising but they do. Watching sport on TV, waiting for the school bus, at the cinema or using social media - all of these activities are exposing our children to positive messages from alcohol companies. As well as being morally wrong, there is clear evidence that exposure to alcohol marketing leads children to start drinking at an earlier age and to drink more,” she added.

The health campaigners are urging all candidates in the May election to recognise the  impact of alcohol marketing on children and young people, and for elected representatives to pledge to take action against this in the next parliamentary term.