Alcohol advertising and promotion

Closes 9 Mar 2023

Opened 17 Nov 2022

Overview

Restricting alcohol marketing is identified as one of the World Health Organization’s three ‘best buys’, the most cost-effective measures that WHO recommends to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm. Many our European neighbours have already taken action to restrict alcohol marketing including Ireland, France and Norway. This consultation sets out a potential approach for Scotland. 

Alcohol is marketed through an integrated mix of channels including advertising on TV, on billboards outdoors, through sports and events sponsorship as well as through branded merchandise and online. 

Alcohol marketing is seen by, and appealing to, large volumes of children and young people in Scotland. International evidence shows that seeing alcohol marketing is associated with an increased likelihood that children and young people will start to drink alcohol or, if they already drink alcohol, drink more. This is harmful to them in both the short and long term. 

It is also likely that alcohol marketing influences higher-risk drinkers and acts as an incentive to drink alcohol, which can make abstention more challenging. This is in addition to the likely impact marketing has on our wider society, by normalising alcohol and presenting it as fun, sociable and commonplace. 

Young people in Scotland, as well as people in recovery and their families, have told us directly that they see a lot of alcohol marketing and want us to take action to tackle this. This consultation sets out a range of potential proposals to do this including prohibiting alcohol advertising in outdoor public spaces, phasing out alcohol sponsorship and reducing the promotion of alcohol in-store. 

By restricting alcohol marketing in Scotland we hope to reduce the appeal of alcohol to our young people. This will support a reduction in consumption of alcohol and subsequently improve their health and health prospects as adults. It will also reduce the potential triggering effect that alcohol marketing can have on higher-risk drinkers, those in recovery or treatment and support our ambition to change our troubled relationship with alcohol. Your responses will help shape our next steps. 

Read the consultation paper

Read an Easy Read version of the consultation paper

Why your views matter

Views set out in this consultation will assist with the development and impact assessment of this policy. The consultation responses will help us to further consider whether restrictions on alcohol advertising and promotion should be introduced, what any restrictions might cover and what might be excepted from them.

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