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Should alcohol advertising be banned?

August 14, 2023 4 min read

Sollte Alkoholwerbung verboten werden?

Football evenings with friends with beer, an attractive couple with champagne glasses in their hands looking at each other in love or exuberant rooftop parties with cocktails - alcohol advertising mainly aims to convey a feeling of light-heartedness. Alcohol consumption promises more joy, increased mood, increased attraction and a renewed sense of freedom. 
There is a current debate about whether alcohol advertising should be restricted or even banned in Germany. The discussion revolves around the potential impact of alcohol advertising on society, particularly on young people. Some experts and advocacy groups argue that current advertising for alcoholic beverages is often designed to be attractive and engaging, which could entice young people to start drinking alcohol. They are concerned that alcohol advertising may give the false impression that drinking alcohol is glamorous and normal, without emphasizing the possible negative consequences.  
Opponents of such a ban, however, argue that advertising is an important part of the economy and creates jobs in the industry. They also fear possible restrictions on freedom of expression and individual choice when it comes to consuming alcohol.  
What does the community say?  
According to a survey commissioned by the Federal Drug Commissioner Burkhard Blienert (SPD), more than half of Germans are in favor of a ban on alcohol advertising.  
According to a report in the "Süddeutsche Zeitung", 59% of the approximately 1,400 respondents support a comprehensive advertising ban for beer, wine and spirits. Even 76% of German citizens support special labeling requirements for alcoholic beverages, similar to those that apply to tobacco products.   
Does alcohol advertising influence children and young people?  
Research shows that the more intensive alcohol advertising occurs, the more likely it is that adolescents and adults will consume more alcohol. Experts in the field of addiction prevention also emphasize that the continued presence of alcohol advertising increases the risk of developing risky or even addictive drinking behavior.  
According to legal regulations, alcohol advertising may not be directed at children and young people. There is also a ban on alcohol advertising in German cinemas before 6 p.m. Children and young people not only feel addressed when advertising is explicitly aimed at them, but they also perceive advertising that is widely present on posters, screens and on television. Especially in the social media context, alcohol consumption is often trivialized and advertising there can hardly be regulated if the platforms themselves do nothing about it. Labeling requirements for influencers who advertise alcohol are also rarely complied with.
A look beyond the borders
Today, alcohol consumption in the Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - is lower than in most European Union countries. Not surprisingly, in these regions alcohol is not just viewed as a commodity but is subject to strict regulations. In Norway, for example, a complete ban on alcohol advertising was introduced as early as 1975, accompanied by other control measures. These measures resulted in an immediate and sustained reduction in alcohol sales and consumption. What originally grew out of concern for the health of young people has had a positive impact on the entire population.
Interim conclusion:
Of course, alcohol advertising is far from the only factor that promotes problematic drinking behavior. Nevertheless, it helps to convey a more positive image. Prevention work should therefore emphasize that young people critically question the optimistic portrayal of alcohol in advertising.

Restricting alcohol advertising could create environments in which there is less pressure on people to consume alcoholic beverages. This could protect young people in particular from early initiation of alcohol consumption and help minimize the risk of alcohol-related health problems.  
Pros and cons of alcohol advertising
The debate about a possible ban on alcohol advertising in Germany requires a careful balance between the interests of the economy and the protection of public health. It is important to find the best measures to educate about the dangers of alcohol consumption while maintaining an appropriate balance between individual freedom and social responsibility. We'll try to present the pros and cons of the debate:

Contra advertising for alcohol
Protection of minors: Advertising for alcoholic beverages can influence young people to perceive alcohol as positive and attractive. A ban on advertising could help protect young people from early and risky alcohol consumption.  
Health education: An advertising ban could make it possible to draw attention to the negative health effects of alcohol. Without influencing advertising, people could be more informed about the risks.  
Reducing consumption: An advertising ban could reduce the influence of advertising on consumers' alcohol consumption decisions, potentially leading to lower consumption overall.  
Avoiding alcoholism: Advertising alcohol can help normalize consumption and increase the risk of alcohol addiction. A ban could help reduce this risk.  
Pro alcohol advertising
Individual Freedom: People should have the right to make their own decisions about consuming alcohol. An advertising ban could be seen as an infringement on individual freedom and self-determination.  
Economic impact: An advertising ban could have a negative impact on the alcohol industry and the jobs and economic activity associated with it.  
Effectiveness : Banning advertising may not be the most effective way to reduce alcohol consumption. Our opinions differ greatly. Greater education and awareness about the risks of alcohol consumption could be more effective.  
Restriction of freedom of expression: A ban on alcohol advertising could be perceived as a restriction of freedom of expression, since advertising is a form of communication.  

The debate about banning alcohol advertising is complex and touches on many aspects such as health, society, economics and individual rights. Viewpoints often depend on personal beliefs and experiences.
We do not categorically reject advertising for alcohol, but we believe that youth protection and prevention are very important points that can still be improved.
Feel free to comment below this article. Write how you see it!  

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