Case for Change

Restricting alcohol advertisng and sponsorship is one of three 'best buys' evidence-based measures to reduce alcohol harm endorsed by the World Health Organisation.  There is strong public support for restricting alcohol advertising and sponsorship in New Zealand in the same way as is tobacco advertising and sponsorship is restricted.  Product labelling is important for branding and marketing of alcoholic beverages, but also provides a key platform for including information about risks associated with drinking, particularly the  risks of drinking during pregnancy.  Research shows graphic pictorial health warnings are more effective than text warnings.  

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The three 'best buys' 

The World Health Organization has identified the following policy measures as the three 'best buys' to reduce alcohol harm:

  1. Price measures, in particular tax increases
  2. Reducing the availability and accessibility of alcohol
  3. Restricting alcohol advertising and sponsorship

As shown in the Introduction to this overall section, there is strong evidence relating to the impact of alcohol advertising and alcohol consumption.

Public opinion

From 2010-2014, strong public support  was found for restricting advertising and sponsorship [17]:

  • 80% supported restrictions on alcohol advertising to young people
  • 66% support banning alcohol sponsorship of events that young people may attend

Product labelling is another important component of alcohol marketing.

Labels may be used to inform drinkers of the content and nutritional content of their drinks, as well as provide warning about the risks associated with drinking (including during pregnancy).

Currently, alcoholic products are not required to show ingredients or nutritional information. Although there is limited evidence of the effect of mandated health warnings on drinking behaviour [22],  there is a consistent belief that alcohol warnings (similar to tobacco warnings), play an important role in shifting cultural norms around drinking.

Given they signal the risk of the hazardous commodity they may be viewed to be an important component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce alcohol consumption. Recent research has shown that individuals exposed to graphic pictorial health warnings (in comparison to text warnings) had greater intentions to reduce and quit alcohol consumption [23].