ITALY NEWS

Unfashionable intoxication

Government bans glamorous alcohol ads
(issue no. 54/2007 / April 19, 2007)
The Italian government plans to apply mandatory health warnings on beer, wine and spirits, creating new labels for all drinks with an alcohol content of more than 1.2%. In addition, Italy will enforce a ban on advertisements that link alcohol to making friends or attracting members of the opposite sex. Welfare Minister Paolo Ferrero recently unveiled this national alcohol abuse prevention campaign, saying the government intends to discredit the myth that drinking makes people more attractive. Our aim is to break the link that exists in young peoples minds between the use of substances and the ability to build successful social relationships. The ad ban applies to television and publications read by teenagers. Beer, wine and spirit producers will only be allowed to run ads showing the characteristics of their products. The idea is to limit alcohol advertising to pure information, Ferraro said. The governments move was unveiled on Italys first Alcohol Prevention Day.

Medical officials, family doctors and companies will be involved in the campaign. General practitioners should be allowed to issue prescriptions to fight alcohol abuse and companies can become a big ally by eliminating alcohol from canteens, said the head of the Health Ministrys Prevention Department, Donato Greco.

A recent survey shows that two thirds of Italian teenagers between the ages of 13 and 15 drink on Saturday nights and a fifth of them get drunkfigures that would have been unthinkable a few years ago because of the Italian social taboo on public drunkenness. A tenth of deaths between the ages of 13 and 24 are attributed to alcohol.  Many are due to widespread post-disco drunk driving. According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization, alcohol kills around 25,000 Italians a yearcompared to 115,000 in the rest of Europe.

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