Booze ads campaign

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WIGAN’S health chiefs are waging war on underage drinking by backing a campaign to restrict alcohol advertising.

Health experts at NHS Ashton Leigh and Wigan (NHSALW) say the campaign should help to reduce the number of children harmed by underage drinking.

In 2008 there were 2,843 deaths among 15-24 year-olds in England and Wales, almost one in four (23 per cent) of which was due to alcohol.

Evidence shows that exposure to alcohol advertising is associated with the onset of drinking among young people and increased consumption among those who already drink.

On October 21 a private member’s bill proposed by Dr Sarah Wollaston MP will be debated in Parliament, calling for restrictions on alcohol advertising in cinemas, television and online. Dr Kate Ardern, Executive Director of Public Health for Wigan, said: “Alcohol-related hospital admissions continue to be too high for young people and for too long our kids have been bombarded by messages promoting alcohol.

“Action is needed to stop the endless exposure of our children to alcohol marketing. In 2010/11 more than 100 young people under 18 were treated in the A&E Department at Wigan Infirmary for intoxication and the toxic effect of alcohol. Many more were treated for injuries they had received whilst intoxicated.

“Dr Wollaston’s proposals would mirror French legislation which allows advertising in newspapers, TV after 9pm, over 18 films and stop online advertising ploys such as ‘advergames’, which disguise alcohol promotion.

“I would urge anybody who is concerned about this to write to their MP to encourage him or her to attend the second reading and support Dr Wollaston.

“The Our Life campaign has put a link on their website, which has a letter you can send to your MP, complete with their contact details. It only takes two minutes to do and can be found at http://www.ourlife.org.uk/action_on_alcohol_marketing.”