A new national poll has revealed that nine in every 10 Australian parents are opposed to the high volume of alcohol advertising their children are exposed to during sports including tennis, cricket, Rugby League, and Aussie Rules.
With the Australian Open and the cricket One Day International series in full swing, Australian parents have served notice that the deadly practice of marketing alcohol to children through sport is unacceptable.
A majority of Australian parents (89 per cent) object to alcohol advertising and promotion shown on television during children’s viewing hours as a result of sponsorship deals with professional sports, with 66 per cent of parents supporting a ban on alcohol advertising during professional sporting games altogether.
Research has consistently demonstrated that the volume of alcohol advertising young people are exposed to impacts on their future alcohol consumption behaviour, and is associated with young people drinking more and from an earlier age.
Alcohol is responsible for the majority of hospitalisations and deaths related to drugs for people aged 15 to 34 years, and contributes to the three leading causes of death among adolescents (unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide).
St Vincent’s Health Australia Group Chief Executive, Toby Hall says the current advertising regulatory framework is failing to protect children, and is clearly out of step with community expectations and standards.
“It is astounding that the alcohol industry should be allowed to advertise during children’s television viewing times. The research is clear, the volume of alcohol advertising young people are exposed to impacts on their future alcohol consumption behaviour. It is also very clear that a majority of Australians want to see an end to alcohol advertising in sport,” Mr Hall said.
The poll, undertaken by YouGov Galaxy (previously Galaxy Research) and commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) found that the majority of Australian parents (73 per cent) believe that alcohol advertising and sponsorship is reinforcing Australia’s harmful drinking culture.
FARE’s Director of Policy & Research, Amy Ferguson says Australia’s major sporting codes continue to cling to alcohol sponsorship, all the while insisting they are committed to making their game more family friendly and appealing to kids.
“It’s undeniable that Aussie children are being exposed to alcohol advertising and promotion through sport; the Australian Open alone, has four alcohol sponsors. We know an overwhelming majority of Australian parents want to see an end to toxic alcohol sponsorship in sport, and the Government must step forward to protect our children,” Ms Ferguson said.
#BoozeFreeSport, a national campaign to give alcohol advertising in sport the boot, will launch a range of billboard and digital campaign messaging during the Australian Open in a bid to galvanise the already strong levels of community support for the issue and ultimately bring an end to alcohol advertising in sport.