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Andrew Lansley welcomes Portman Group's code review

Published:  13 October, 2011

Drinks watchdog the Portman Group has launched a comprehensive review of its code of practice for responsible alcohol marketing.

The group is urging everyone who has an interest in responsible alcohol marketing to have their say and respond to the consultation. The Portman Group pledged, under the responsibility deal, to see if there are areas which need tightening up or extending within the self-regulatory framework.

The consultation runs for three months to January 13 2012.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "A lot of health problems are caused by people drinking too much. To tackle this we need to make real changes to the way alcohol is sold and consumed in this country. Public health is everyone's business and I want to see the drinks industry having a serious look at how it can improve the nation's health.

"The Portman Group Code is well-recognised as a good example of self-regulation and we welcome the timely review of these rules as part of the responsibility deal."

Some of the questions being asked include:

  • Should the code be extended to cover all drinks producer marketing activity which is not otherwise regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority or Ofcom, including retailer-led co-promotions and public relations activity?
  • Should the restrictions on promoting the strength of alcohol be changed to enable producers to promote products which are lower in strength?
  • Should there be a binding requirement for companies to build a commitment to social responsibility into their sponsorship agreements - what should this entail and how should it be worded?
  • Should the code be tightened even further to prevent any suggestion of sexual activity or that alcohol has therapeutic properties such as relaxation?

The code applies to all alcohol sold or marketed in the UK regardless of whether alcohol producers are members of the Portman Group or signatories to the code.

Seymour Fortescue, chairman of the Portman Group said: "Responsible alcohol producers are serious about tackling alcohol misuse and it is in their long-term business interest to make sure that their products are marketed and sold responsibly."

The consultation can be downloaded from the Portman Group's website.