Nordic Alcohol and Drug Policy Network (NordAN) is focusing on alcohol advertising and its role to drinking and especially on young peoples relationship to alcohol in Nordic-Baltic region.
Research shows that the exposure of young people to alcohol marketing hastens the drinking debut and increases alcohol consumption among those people who already drink. At the same time studies also show that the earlier young people start to drink the bigger is harm and risk of addiction. Advertising is thus clearly identified as one source of alcohol problem.
Legislation that imposes restrictions on advertising of alcohol is a well established preventative measure that is used by authorities in many parts of the world, despite opposition from the alcohol sector. In Nordic-Baltic area we can find countries that have total ban on advertising (Iceland, Norway) and also countries where regulation is much more liberal. For instance Latvia does´nt have any time limit for advertising alcohol in television.
“The way governments deal with alcohol advertising, show in a way how seriously this problem is tackled,” said Lauri Beekmann, Secretary General of NordAN. “The fact that most of our countries think it is OK to advertise a substance that is addictive, a teratogen and a carcinogenic that belongs to the same cancer class as tobacco and asbestos, shows that this approach is strongly influenced by economic interests and health and social aspects are clearly secondary. NordAN believes that alcohol advertising should be as limited as possible.”
Several NordAN member organisations in different countries work with alcohol advertising monitoring and the network is in the process of forming an international working group to focus on this topic. Group will work, among other things, advocating the implementation of the Nordic Council´s Welfare Committees proposal to Nordic Council of Ministers “to consider the introduction of a total ban on advertising and marketing of alcohol aimed at young people in the Nordic countries and the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland.”