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Government Addresses Alcohol Issues in New Public Health Bill

Published on Oct 29 2013 2:31 PM in Drinks

Government Addresses Alcohol Issues in New Public Health Bill

The government has announced a 'three-step approach' to implement structural separation of alcohol products in grocery retail outlets, which will be incorporated into the forthcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

Under the proposals, the current voluntary code will be replaced with a statutory code under Section 17 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011, and after 2 years both Departments will review its effectiveness in achieving the policy objectives of Section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008.

In addition, the Bill will also seek to target cheap alcohol products relative to their alcohol content sold in off-licences and supermarkets by minimum unit pricing, as well as restricting alcohol advertising on TV and radio to evening hours from 2016. Cinema advertising will be restricted to over-18 movies and there will be restrictions on outdoor advertising from 2018.

Health warnings, pregnancy advice, alcohol and calorie content are also to be implemented on all labels of all alcoholic drink containers.

Minister of State for Primary Care, Alex White said the Government is responding to consequences caused by the misuse of alcohol. “This is a landmark day," he commented last week. "It is the first time alcohol misuse has been addressed as a public health issue. The Government has recognised the severe consequences of the misuse of alcohol – including deaths, injuries and social and financial problems – and has determined to take action to address this problem. The package of measures to be implemented is the result of intensive discussions across Government departments, and will include provision for minimum unit pricing for alcohol products and the regulation of advertising and marketing of alcohol.”

Advertising and sponsorship of sporting events by alcohol companies will not be addressed in the Public Health Bill.

NOffLA welcomed the proposals to introduce structural separation for alcohol products, with chairperson Evelyn Jones commenting: “Structural separation of alcohol products in mixed trading premises is of paramount importance as it will allow consumers to make the conscious decision about whether or not to purchase alcohol. Structural separation will also mean that children will no longer be confronted with alcohol every time they enter a supermarket."

© 2013 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson

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