Expatica news

Drinks companies told not to target children

30 September 2004

BRUSSELS – Health Minister Rudy Demotte is to ban firms which sell alcohol from targeting the under 16s, it was reported on Thursday.

Demotte is proposing new rules prohibiting advertisers from wooing minors, or making adverts which encourage excessive drinking or the idea that alcoholic drinks can ensure social or sexual success.

He does not want to see adverts with youngsters drinking or appearing to drink alcohol, and he wants to ban images which suggest drinking is a sign of maturity.

The minister’s plans come as consumer watchdog Test-Achats claims in its October/November magazine that children could easily buy alcohol in Belgium’s shops.

The organisation sent 14-year-olds into a number of outlets and found the children had little difficulty buying drinks like alco-pops, fruit mixers which contain four to 10 percent alcohol.

“There is a real need for shopkeepers to be given information on their legal obligations because these products are not innocent lemonades,” said a Test-Achats spokesperson.

Test-Achats says children and teenagers need protecting from the negative effects of alcohol through improvements in advertising rules. It believes existing codes of conduct on the issue of children and alcohol are not working.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news