Doctor demands drink ad reform

First published in News

A TOP doctor is calling for tighter controls on alcohol advertising to prevent children suffering serious booze-related health problems.

Dr Kieran Moriarty, a consultant gastroenterologist at the Royal Bolton Hospital, said evidence has been carried out which shows young children are able to recognise five or more alcohol bottles.

And he warned there is already evidence of brain damage, caused by alcohol, in younger people.

Drink-related health issues make up between 70 and 80 per cent of Accident and Emergency attendances at weekends at the Royal Bolton, according to Dr Moriarty.

He said: “The alcohol industry tries to make out that advertising doesn’t impact on sales but then why spend £800 million every year on advertising?

“Advertising can indicate sexual success from the product.

Some of the adverts are very clever, such as the Guinness advert with the surfers.”

A report on the Government’s Alcohol Strategy, published by the Health Select Committee, has recognised the impact of alcohol on children and called for the alcohol industry to take responsibility for the power of its advertising.

Dr Moriarty, who treats chronic drinkers are blighted with serious health problems due to alcohol, welcomed the report’s findings.

He said: “Binge drinking isn’t just about crime and social disorder but the health implications.

About 35 per cent of hospital admissions relate to alcohol but at weekends the A&E attendances through alcohol is 70 to 80 per cent. There’s evidence that drinking has health implications particularly on young and developing brains. We are seeing the onset of brain damage in younger people.

“The health select committee is trying to look for a voluntary code of proactive but there needs to be a mandatory code of practice where they deal with advertising.”

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