IMO calls for immediate ban on sports sponsorship by drinks companies
Tuesday 23rd June 2015. The President of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), Dr. Ray Walley, has called on the Government to grasp the nettle of sports sponsorship by drinks companies by introducing a ban on sponsorship and promotion of sports by the alcohol industry with immediate effect.
Dr Walley said “There is clear evidence that advertising and sponsorship of this kind increases consumption and exposes many children and young people to such marketing efforts, the IMO reiterates its call on the Minister for Health to reconsider and take immediate action to ban sponsorship and promotion of sports by the alcohol industry.”
Dr. Walley was speaking following the publication of the Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Genral Scheme of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health (JOHC).
Dr. Walley said that the reluctance of the JOHC to deal with this key issue (sports sponsorship by drinks companies) was a blight on an otherwise significant report on the proposed Bill. Dr. Walley said that the JOHC and the IMO were “at one” in respect of key issues and he called on the Government to move quickly now to implement the Bill. He said “the IMO has clear policy in relation to the sale and promotion of alcohol to young people and has called for the introduction of a minimum pricing structure for the sale of alcohol in Ireland as well as a total ban on all advertising and promotion”.
In particular Dr. Walley said that the IMO welcomed the Committee’s suggestions that:
• Labels on alcohol products should display the quantity of alcohol in grams, standard drink size, and relate this to recommended maximum weekly consumption, while also giving prominence to visual and graphic considerations that increase impact on the observer.
• Minimum unit pricing should be set at the upper end of the €0.60 and €1.10 per unit range currently being examined by the Department of Health to maximise the policy’s protective impact.
• Multi-buy promotions and promotional discounts involving alcohol products should be banned.
• The voluntary code of conduct on the structural separation of alcohol products from others in retail outlets in not sufficient to guarantee its implementation and should be made mandatory.
• Financial penalties for failure to abide by this legislation should be reflective of the size of the business that is in contravention of the legislation.
Note to Editor:
Earlier this month the IMO published its Position Paper on Addiction and Dependency which addresses a range of issues including prevention and treatment issues and highlights key recommendations on how addiction and dependency in Ireland arising from alcohol, drugs, and gambling, can and should be tackled