Recreation of a classic beer advertisement (Illustrative image)

Alcohol advertisements should not depict living people, says Czech Health Minister

Advertisements should not create the impression that alcohol is a good friend, says Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech

Prague, Nov 27 (CTK) – Alcohol advertisements should not depict living beings and the health sector is preparing a bill to limit how long they can be displayed, Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech (for ANO) said at the expert Alcohol and Tobacco 2019 conference today.

“Advertisements should not create the impression that ‘alcohol is a good friend,’ which is a thing that still happens,” Vojtech said, adding he is considering filing a proposal with the bodies tasked with regulating advertisements.

The Czech Republic is among the countries with the highest alcohol consumption per capita in the world, with experts saying there are more than 1.5 million Czechs whose drinking habits pose a risk and 600,000 that drink daily in the population of 10.6 million. The estimated social costs related to exorbitant alcohol consumption reach more than 59 billion crowns annually.

The current law regulating advertisements states that an advertisement for alcohol must not entice consumers to excessive drinking and must not express negative or ironic positions on abstinence.

It is also prohibited to link alcohol with social or sexual achievements, accentuating alcohol content as a positive attribute of a drink, claim that alcohol has some healthy, stimulating and calming effects or that it is a means of solving personal issues.

The advertisements for tobacco face stricter regulation, being prohibited everywhere except for specialised shops or in the parts of an establishment intended for the sale of tobacco products or periodicals focused on professionals in the trade with tobacco products. Sponsoring of motorsport competitions is also allowed.

According to addiction and alcoholism health impact experts, the best way to limit excessive alcohol consumption and youth drinking is advertisement regulation and an increased alcohol tax.

The Chamber of Deputies passed an increase of the taxation of hard liquor, tobacco and gambling in July. There is no excise tax on Wine and beer is taxed according to the size of the brewery, but it is lower than hard liquor.

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The annual consumption of pure alcohol in the Czech Republic is more than 11 litres per capita. According to the Czech Statistical Office (CSU), alcohol consumption has decreased by almost 6 percent between 2008-2017.

National anti-drug coordinator Jarmila Vedralova stated that the decrease can be measured all over Europe and is probably linked to lifestyle changes.

Alcohol manufacturers do not agree with the proposed regulation on alcohol advertisements, pointing to the controversies surrounding the results of alcohol consumption studies.

For example, the Czech Beer and Malt Association (CSPAS) said that it considers the limits imposed on alcohol advertisements to be ineffective and counterproductive.

“It was proven that advertisements support specific brands and to not influence overall consumption,” CSPAS executive director Martina Ferencova said, adding that the sums invested in advertisements are growing while consumption is decreasing.

Ferencova said she thinks any regulation will hurt the advertisement industry, limit the competition among alcohol manufacturers and strengthen the position of cheap and low-quality products.

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