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New regulations to stop alcohol being advertised around children take effect from today

Ireland has the third highest levels of adolescent binge drinking in the world.

Image: Shutterstock/cdrin

NEW LEGISLATION TO reduce the exposure of children to advertisements featuring alcohol products come into effect from today. 

Three sections of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018, which was first introduced as a Bill in 2015 and was signed into law by President Michael D Higgins last month, will limit the advertising of alcohol in public places. 

Alcohol advertising in or on public service vehicles, at public transport stops or stations, and within 200 metres of a school, creche, or local authority playground will be prohibited. 

Cinemas will be prohibited from advertising alcohol except around films with an 18 age classification. 

All children’s clothing that promotes alcohol will also be prohibited. 

Health Minister Simon Harris said: “Studies report consistently that exposure to alcohol advertising is associated with an increased likelihood that children will start to drink, or will drink greater quantities if they already do.

“These measures aim to change that situation in Ireland and to remove alcohol advertising from the day-to-day lives of our children. ”

Harris also pointed to data from the Global Burden of Disease Study published in March, which found that Ireland has the third highest levels of adolescent binge drinking in the world at 61% for females and almost 59% for males.

A new research group, chaired by Professor of Population Health Medicine at Trinity College Dublin, Joe Barry, has also been established to ensure the measures in the Act are effective and will continue to monitor the measures being introduced under the Act. 

“Reports in October this year identified an 80% increase in 2018 in the number of children under-16 admitted to Irish hospitals because of alcohol intoxication. 36 children in 2018 compared to 20 such cases in 2017,” Harris said.

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“I am determined to continue this fight. These and other measures in the Public Health (Alcohol) Act will affect practical changes in our society in order to ensure that there will be no room for alcohol and alcohol advertising in Irish childhoods.”

The HSE is running an ‘Ask About Alcohol’ campaign to increase awareness of the negative effects on mental and physical health of alcohol use. 

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