Irish Medical Organisation

The IMO is calling for a ban on alcohol sponsorship of all sporting activities and sports organisations - 7th June 13

The IMO is calling on the Government to ban alcohol sponsorship of all sporting activities and sports organisations.

Alcohol is associated with more than 60 acute and chronic health disorders ranging from accidents and assaults to mental health problems, cardiovascular disease, liver cirrhosis and certain cancers. While chronic conditions more often affect older people, acute conditions are more prevalent amongst younger people.

In a study of attendance at accident and emergency departments 2003-2004, 28% of injuries were related to alcohol consumption, of which, almost half (45%) were in the 18-29 year old age-group. 61% of those presenting with alcohol related injuries had consumed 12 or more drinks.

Alcohol is considered to be a contributory factor in accidental death and suicide. Recent research found that 36.5% of road fatalities are alcohol-related with highest rates among 19-34 year olds and 56% of suicides tested positive for alcohol, rising to 93% of suicides under 30 years of age.

Alcohol is also related to unsafe sex, drunkenness, public disorder and interpersonal problems.
Ireland ranks among the highest consumers of alcohol in Europe and according to the HBSC Study 2010, 52% of 15-17 year olds. 16% of 12-14 year olds and 4% of 10-11 year olds report having been “really drunk” while over a third of 15-17 year olds reported being drunk in the last 30 days.

In Ireland the drinks industry spends over €50m on advertising and are the major sponsors of festivals and sporting events. Young people are particularly susceptible to alcohol promotion. Mass media advertising, sports and events sponsorship, merchandising, internet presence, electronic communications and point-of-sale marketing, “all combine to embed the young-person in a network of pro-drinking stimuli” (BMA 2009).

The IMO has been warning against the dangers of alcohol since the 1980’s and has clear policy on the promotion of alcohol particularly to young people and is calling for a ban on all forms of alcohol promotion including the sponsorship of sporting activities and sporting organisations.

IMO Recommendations on alcohol promotion include:

National Substance Misuse strategy
The IMO calls on the Government to approve an implementation plan with timelines for all recommendations of the National Substance Misuse Strategy.

Promotion of Alcohol to Young People

  • The IMO is calling for a complete ban on the advertising and promotion of alcohol:
    • all forms of advertising promoting alcohol;
    • alcohol sponsorship of sporting activities and sporting organisations;
    • the promotion or sponsorship of concerts by alcohol companies.
  • introduce a traceability mechanism to be put in place so that alcohol sold in off-licences to underage persons can be traced.
  • legislate to prohibit below cost selling of alcohol

Minimum Pricing Structure for Alcohol Products

The IMO is also calling on the Department of Health to work with counterparts in Northern Ireland, England and Scotland to introduce of a minimum price structure for alcohol, based on grams of alcohol.

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