Young people exposed to alcohol marketing are more likely to start drinking, more likely to drink heavily and more likely to develop a problem, says a group of charities and MSPs
Alcohol advertising should be banned from sport to protect young people, a group of charities and MSPs agreed this week.
Vivienne MacLaren, chair of Scottish Women’s Football, told MSPs at the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Improving Scotland’s Health that her organisation is committed to promoting a health lifestyle to young people and refuses to accept alcohol advertising.
Her comments were welcomed by the chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, Alison Douglas, who said the Scottish Government should take action to end alcohol sponsorship at all sport, music and culture events.
Ahead of the cross-party group on Wednesday, MacLaren said: “Scottish Women’s Football is clear that accepting alcohol and gambling sponsorship would be incompatible with our role in promoting healthy lifestyles amongst girls and women and supporting them to make postive choices.
“We believe positioning ourselves as a clean sport is both beneficial to those who participate in and follow women’s football but also to the long-term growth and sustainbility of our business.”
Douglas, who is joint secretary to the cross-party group, said: “It’s easy to see why many clubs are attracted to the income alcohol sponsorship can provide but they need to be aware that alcohol marketing drives consumption and harm.
“It is encouraging that the Scottish Govenment has committed to consult later this year on measures to control alcohol marketing, but if they are really interested in protecting our children and young people we need to see a clear timeable set out for ending the sponsorship of sports, music and cultural events.”
The meeting examined the influence of marketing in driving consumption and harm, with particular reference to children and young people and other vulnerable groups. It explored measures to increase understanding and support for evidence-based measures to reduce marketing exposure and appeal in Scotland.
Welcoming Scottish Women’s Football’s position, the SNP’s co-convener of the group Kenneth Gibson added: “There is no place for alcohol marketing in sport. We need to encourage other sporting bodies to follow the example of SWF given the clear evidence that children and young people who are exposed to alcohol marketing are more likely to start drinking, more likely to drink heavily and more likely to develop a problem.”