WHO Calls for Greater Regulation of Cross-Border Alcohol Marketing

Alcohol is increasingly being marketed across borders, with young people and heavy drinkers particularly targeted, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a new report on Tuesday that calls for more effective regulation.

The study outlines how the digital revolution in marketing and promotion is being used to advertise alcohol across national borders, and in many cases regardless of social, economic, or cultural environments.

Drinking alcohol is causally linked to an array of health problems, WHO said, ranging from alcohol dependence and other mental and behavioural disorders, to major noncommunicable diseases such as liver cirrhosis, some cancers and cardiovascular diseases, as well as injuries and deaths resulting from violence and road traffic accidents.

"Alcohol robs young people, their families and societies of their lives and potential," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General.

"Yet despite the clear risks to health, controls on the marketing of alcohol are much weaker than for other psychoactive products. Better, well enforced and more consistent regulation of alcohol marketing would both save and improve young lives across the world."

"The rising importance of digital media means that alcohol marketing has become increasingly cross-border," said Dag Rekve of the Alcohol, Drugs and Addictive Behaviours Unit at WHO.

"This makes it more difficult for countries that are regulating alcohol marketing to effectively control it in their jurisdictions. More collaboration between countries in this area is needed."

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