Switzerland joins global fight against alcoholism

Could alcohol advertising contribute to the deaths of 55,000 young Europeans each year? Keystone Archive

Switzerland has joined 50 other countries in announcing tighter regulation of alcohol advertisements aimed at young people.

This content was published on February 21, 2001 minutes

The announcement came after the publication of new figures, which indicate that more than 55,000 young Europeans die every year from the effects of alcohol.

In a joint statement at the end of a three-day conference in Stockholm, the 51 attending nations vowed to step up protection of young people who are most at risk from advertising.

Switzerland was represented by a delegation of six, headed by the director of the Federal Office of Public Health, Thomas Zeltner.

The Swiss delegation has admitted that instilling basic values and a sense of security in youngsters is the nation's long-term goal.

Conference participants reaffirmed the basic right of young people to be sheltered from the marketing of alcoholic beverages as stated in a European charter adopted in 1995.

The rapid expansion of the internet, cable television and other electronic media, all of which defy strict governmental control, have jeopardised this basic right, the statement said.

The purpose of the three-day meeting, organised by the Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO), was to draw up a plan of action aimed at curbing the trend of excess alcohol consumption in young people.

Measures put forward in the ten-point plan include a substantial reduction of alcohol advertisements, and of sponsorship deals with alcoholic manufacturers. Additionally, tighter restrictions will be introduced on the number of promotional giveaways designed to tempt young people into buying alcoholic products.

The WHO says Europe has the most alarming trend towards increasing alcohol abuse in youngsters is the most alarming.

The numbers of Swiss teenagers and people in their early 20s who indulge in 'binge drinking' have increased significantly in the last decade.

The Swiss health authorities want to unify cantonal laws on age-limits on sales of wine and beer - which unlike spirits do not come under national legislation.

swissinfo with agencies

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