May 28, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

WHO calls for governments to restrict online marketing of alcohol

The World Health Organization is urging governments to introduce sweeping restrictions or bans on the marketing of alcohol as digital marketing cross-border targets young and heavy drinkers with “sophisticated” online marketing.

The organization The youngest The report ‘Reducing Alcohol Harm – By Regulating Cross-Border Alcohol Marketing, Advertising and Promotion’ found that alcohol is marketed across national borders – often digitally – and in many cases regardless of the social, economic or cultural environment in recipient countries .

“One of the biggest changes in alcohol marketing in recent years has been the use of sophisticated online marketing. The collection and analysis of data on user habits and preferences by global ISPs has created new and growing opportunities for alcohol marketers to target messages across national borders to specific groups.

“Targeted advertising on social media is particularly effective in using such data, with their impact being amplified by social influencers and post-sharing between social media users,” says the report.

Dag Rekve from the WHO Unit for Alcohol, drugs and addictive behaviors, said the rising star The prominence of digital media has meant that alcohol marketing has become increasingly cross-border.

“This makes it more difficult for countries that regulate alcohol marketing to track it in their jurisdictions to control effectively. More cooperation between countries is needed in this area,” said Rekve.

In South Africa, the marketing of alcohol must not be directed to persons under the age of 18.

“In many countries however, if there are some form of restrictions on the marketing of alcohol, they are generally relatively weak. A 2018 WHO study found that while most countries have some form of regulation for alcohol marketing in traditional media, almost half have no regulation for alcohol marketing online (48%) and in social media (47%). ‘ said WHO researchers.

The lack of regulation on the cross-border marketing of alcohol is of particular concern for children and adolescents, women and heavy drinkers.

‘Studies have shown that the onset of alcohol consumption at a young age is an indicator of risky drinking in young adulthood and beyond. In addition, adolescent drinkers are more vulnerable to harm from alcohol use than older drinkers. Regions of the world with young and growing populations, such as Africa and Latin America, will be particularly targeted,” the report states.

In addition, alcohol consumption by women is an important growth sector for alcohol production and sales.

“While three-quarters of the alcohol consumed in the world is consumed by men, alcohol marketers tend to see women’s lower alcohol consumption as an opportunity to grow their market, and often blame women’s drinking as a symbol of empowerment and equality. They organize corporate social responsibility initiatives on issues such as breast cancer and domestic violence, and work with women known for their success in fields such as sport or the arts to promote alcohol brands,” WHO said.

Heavy and dependent drinkers are another target for marketing efforts, as in many countries only 20% of current drinkers drink well over half of all alcohol consumption.

“People dependent on alcohol often report greater cravings for alcohol to drink when confronted with alcohol-related warnings, but they rarely have an effective way to avoid contact with the content of advertising or promotions,” the report said.

Three million people die worldwide every year from the effects of harmful alcohol consumption – one every 10 seconds – which accounts for about 5% of all deaths.

“A disproportionate number of these al alcohol-related deaths occur in younger people, namely 13.5%. of all deaths among 20-39 year olds are alcohol-related,” says the report.

WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said alcohol robs young people, their families and their communities of life and potential.

“Despite the clear health risks, controls over the marketing of alc ohol are much weaker than other psychoactive products. Better, well-enforced and more consistent alcohol marketing regulations would save and improve young lives around the world.”

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