Advertising alcohol

 

Madam, - Fintan O'Toole's excellent column of December 20th sums up what many people who are concerned about what he describes as our "national alcoholism", have felt for some time - that Government policy on the issue appears to be formulated to serve the interests of the drinks and hospitality industries rather than the health and well-being of the Irish people.

All the evidence from international research shows that alcohol marketing plays a significant role in young people's decisions to drink and in how they drink. Therefore, every effort must be made to protect vulnerable young people and those with dependence problems from exposure to media messages that promote alcohol.

There is no evidence that the type of voluntary code on alcohol advertising introduced last week, with audience profiling as the key ingredient, will be effective in protecting vulnerable viewers. Indeed the whole concept of audience profiling means that a significant number of children will continue to be exposed to the risk (alcohol ads).

Surely our politicians have a duty to put the health and life-quality of their citizens above the commercial interests of these industries? - Yours, etc,

SINÉAD SHANNON, Policy and Communications Officer, Alcohol Action Ireland, Tallaght, Dublin 24.