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Charity says cinema ad rules fail children

Published:  10 July, 2009

A UK charity dealing with alcohol misuse claims that millions of children are being exposed to alcohol advertising in cinemas that flout advertising regulations.

Alcohol Concern says that current advertising regulations are failing to protect children and calls for a pre-watershed ban on alcohol advertising.

The agency investigated alcohol advertising and audience profiles for the 12A rated Batman film, Dark Knight, released in 2008.

It found that 810,000 7-14 year olds were exposed to nine alcohol adverts prior to watching the Batman film, with up to a further 590,000 likely to have been exposed.

In 2007, the charity conducted research into alcohol advertising on television over a two-week period and found several instances of alcohol adverts shown during programmes which appeal to children, including Australian soap opera Home and Away and reality TV competition the X Factor.

It also found an instance of wine advertised by a supermarket during Coronation Street, which was watched by over a million children.

Alcohol Concern chief executive Don Shenker said: "Current restrictions on alcohol advertising fail to protect children from alcohol promotion - they are bombarded with adverts for a harmful product they can't legally buy.

"Children are not being protected from alcohol advertising, despite evidence which shows it increases their drinking. In addition, alcohol advertising rules are being breached.

"It would be unacceptable to allow smoking to be promoted to children, yet alcohol - which adversely affects thousands of children every year- is advertised to millions of youngsters as a matter of course."