IMO calls for a minimum price structure for alcohol
IMO President says “The only way to ensure that young people are not exposed to alcohol marketing is to introduce a complete ban on alcohol advertising and promotion”
26th September 2013. Introducing a minimum price on alcohol would effectively reduce the burden of problem alcohol abuse of future generations in Ireland - Irish Medical Organisation tells Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children
The IMO today presented its pre-budget submission and Alcohol and Young People position paper to the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children.
Commentating on the Position Paper, President of the IMO, Dr Matt Sadlier urged the Government and the Department of Health to introduce a minimum price structure for alcohol in the upcoming Budget and as well as a complete ban on all alcohol advertising and promotion.
“The increased affordability of alcohol over the past number of years has resulted in a massive cost to Irish society” according to Dr Sadlier. The cost to the health care system of alcohol related illness in 2007 is estimated at €1.2 billion while the overall cost to Irish society of problem alcohol use is estimated at €3.7billion including health care costs, crime, costs of premature death and premature mortality and accidents and absenteeism at work.
Dr Sadlier said “Of particular concern is the fact that alcohol consumption rates in Ireland are amongst the highest in Europe and consumption patterns amongst our young people are very troubling, yet the alcohol industry has no obligation to contribute to the full economic cost of alcohol-related harm”
As alcohol related harm is linked to excessive alcohol consumption, alcohol pricing policies therefore offer an opportunity to reduce alcohol related harm.
Minimum pricing policies introduce a minimum price per gram of alcohol under which alcohol cannot be sold. Minimum pricing is considered more effective than an increase in excise duty. Under a minimum pricing structure alcohol prices will more appropriately reflect the costs of alcohol related harm.
The IMO is calling on the Government to introduce a health levy on alcohol as the industry has no obligation to contribute to the full economic cost of alcohol-related harm.
“A range of measures are immediately needed in order to change Ireland’s relationship with alcohol and to reduce the burden of problem alcohol abuse on future generations.” said Dr Sadlier. The IMO has clear policy in relation to the sale and promotion of alcohol to young people.
The IMO President has also strongly criticised ‘Arthur’s Day’ as cynical marketing ploy by the drinks industry. The IMO believe that the only way to ensure that young people are not exposed to alcohol marketing is to introduce a complete ban on alcohol advertising and promotion including:
• All forms of mass media advertising including print, broadcast and digital media, billboard
• advertising and cinema commercials;
• alcohol sponsorship of sporting activities and sporting organisations;
• the promotion or sponsorship of concerts by alcohol companies;
• product placements in movies, tv programmes and music videos;
• all point of sale promotions including price promotions
“In order to make a positive contribution to the health of Irish society, the immediate implementation of a range of measures as outlined in the Alcohol and Young People Position Paper is needed in order to change Ireland’s relationship with alcohol.”