A letter packed full of seasonal, ahem, joy from the usual temperance tax spongers was published in the Guardian (where else?) on Christmas Day.
Our children deserve a better future and we must take the opportunity to give it to them. Self-regulation of alcohol advertising isn’t working when it allows drink brands to dominate sporting events that attract children as well as adults, creating automatic associations between alcohol brands and sport that are cumulative, unconscious and built up over years. Evidence shows that exposure to alcohol advertising leads young people to drink more, and to drink at an earlier age.Funny that. You see, over in France alcohol advertising is, indeed, banned under the wide-ranging Loi Evin. And what is happening there?
Between 2007 and 2011 (two years before and two years after the ban), there were modest increases in regular drinking (“usage regulier”), drunkenness (“ivresse”), binge drinking (“alcoolisation ponctuelle importante”) and daily smoking (“usage quotidian”) among 16-year-olds.
That rise in consumption was even more pronounced for 17-year-olds in the period between 2008 and 2011Le Loi Evin isn't working well for French adults either.
France has seen a sharp rise in the number of people being hospitalised for alcohol-related conditions.
Around 400,000 people out of a population of 65 million are admitted to French hospitals every year for conditions like comas, hepatitis and liver cirrhosis, a rise of 30 per cent compared with three years ago.Contrast that with the UK - where alcohol sponsorship is legal - and you have to wonder what is really motivating these 'public health' trouser-stuffers.
In addition, short term hospital admissions for binge drinking symptoms are up by a staggering 80per cent.
In 2013, around two-fifths of pupils (39%) had drunk alcohol at least once. Boys and girls were equally likely to have done so. The proportion of pupils who have had an alcoholic drink increased with age from 6% of 11 year olds to 72% of 15 year olds. Less than one in ten pupils (9%) had drunk alcohol in the last week. This continues the downward trend since 2003, when a quarter (25%) of pupils had drunk alcohol in the last week.Yes, even more of a decline since the previous year when it looked like this.
So, underage drinking is on a continual downward trend and at the lowest it has been for over a decade in the UK where alcohol sponsorship is allowed, but on the rise in France where alcohol advertising in sport is strictly banned. You'd think the 'public health' lobby - who love to point at 'evidence' from other countries and demand we copy them - would be less gung-ho about copying failure, wouldn't you?
Call me cynical, but perhaps with the public sector being squeezed for cash, there isn't much scope for grant funds by saying all is well, now is there?