82% of people who support this action are Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil supporters
The poll, conducted by Ireland Thinks, between 12 and 16th June among a sample of 1,300 adults across the country, found that the public would support stronger regulation of alcohol marketing than is proposed in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.
Notably, the support for action amongst the supporters of political parties – Fine Gael (84% strongly agreed with a total ban on alcohol marketing to young people), Fianna Fail (82% strongly agree) and Independents (85% strongly agree) – central to the Programme for Government, consistently reflected the national average.
The poll shows adults across Ireland, with over 80% in Leinster, Connacht, Ulster and Munster, strongly agreeing with a total ban on alcohol marketing to young people.
The poll also demonstrates a strong desire to protect children and young people from alcohol marketing.
These findings offer overwhelming support for the Government and other political parties to protect young people from being bombarded by alcohol marketing. A curb on advertising is one of a number of evidence-based measures contained in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill which is being continuously delayed.
Dr Bobby Smyth, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, member of the College of Psychiatrists Faculty of Addictions Psychiatry, and Board Member of Alcohol Action Ireland, also called for action:
This poll demonstrates clearly that public opinion is very much in favour of firm action on alcohol marketing aimed at children…The Public Health Alcohol Bill does contain a modest set of regulations that will limit the appeal of alcohol advertising, particularly to children. Evidence based research has consistently demonstrated that alcohol marketing including advertising increases the likelihood that children will start to drink alcohol, and with increased drinking amongst baseline drinkers.”
Commenting on the findings, Alcohol Health Alliance Chair, Prof. Frank Murray, said it was time for the Government to respond to the strong public desire to protect young people from alcohol marketing.
These findings very clearly show the need for the Government and other political parties to stand-up to vested interests, who are trying to water-down the Public Health Alcohol Bill, and enact this long-delayed legislation. Their supporters want them to take a historic step to protect children from marketing tactics designed to recruit the next generation of drinkers.
It is our strong belief that the measures within the Bill, when taken together, will provide a reasonable, pragmatic means to achieving the ambition of this progressive public health initiative – namely to protect children, to ease the pressure on our health services and make for a healthier and more productive society for everyone. It’s time to take this historic step forward to create a more sustainable economy and better society for everyone” Prof Murray said.
While the drinks industry has claimed that the Bill will threaten sponsorship of cultural events and local community arts, Eunan McKinney of Alcohol Action Ireland stipulated in a letter to the Irish Times that “the Bill does not propose any prohibition on alcohol sponsorship of the arts. Nor does it propose to prohibit advertising of alcohol products.”
The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill contains a range of measures designed to work together to reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland so lessening alcohol related harms. Implemented together, they will provide a reasonable, pragmatic means to achieving the ambition of this progressive public health initiative.