The Royal College of Physicians’ (RCP's) representative on EU alcohol policies, Professor Nick Sheron, will today join Dr Vytenis Andriukaitis, the European commissioner for health, and Ireland’s minister for health promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, at a stakeholder meeting in Brussels to discuss how European countries can better protect children from alcohol marketing through effective regulation rather than industry self-regulation.
Minister Kennedy will present the Irish Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, which includes specific measures to increase protection for children from alcohol marketing and could serve as a model for other European countries.
The meeting – organised by Alcohol Action Ireland and Eurocare – takes place at a key time in the process to revise the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive. RCP lobbying aims to ensure that the directive is reinforced to protect children against the marketing of unhealthy food and alcohol.
The RCP joint statement, co-signed by over 40 health organisations across Europe, makes three key recommendations:
1. Minimise young people’s exposure to the marketing of health-harmful products
2. Exclude alcohol and foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) from product placement and sponsorship
3. Ensure that member states can effectively limit broadcasts from other countries on public health grounds.
Commenting on the discussion, Professor Sheron said:
Children in the EU are now protected from tobacco marketing and smoking rates are falling fast – the benefits of tobacco controls are as clear as crystal to everyone. Surely it is time to give children the same protection from alcohol and the damaging products of the food industry.
You can read the report of the meeting on the Eurocare website.