Curbing industry marketing of harmful products to young people

Professor Ayo-Yussuf

Professor Ayo-Yussuf

In a meeting in Cape Town 26 August 2016 international experts support call for marketing ban on harmful products to protect children.

Young South Africans consume harmful products like tobacco, sugar and alcohol at alarming levels with 17.6% of high school learners smoking tobacco monthly, 12% of adolescents initiating alcohol use before age 13 and 6.9% being obese.

International experts discussed ways to change this reality and some of the WHO evidence-based strategies suggested were taxation, marketing bans and reducing access to these products. These strategies are most effective when implemented at population level and benefit both children and adults.

Professor Isidor Obot “African governments have allowed alcohol companies to do whatever they want to do on the continent. Governments have a responsibility to protect the health of African youth.”

Prof Ayo-Yussuf said, “Despite the ban on advertisements of tobacco products, the industry continue to promote smoking among youths through offer of free cigarettes, promotion of discount prices, product placement in movies and TV soapies and glamorous point-of-sale displays.”

Sally Casswell

Professor Sally Casswell

“Alcohol marketing in the digital world is pervasive and threatens efforts to control alcohol related harm, particularly in emerging markets and middle income countries,” urged Professor Sally Casswell

Tobacco, alcohol and sugar are risk factors for ill-health in both the short and long–term. The prime aim of marketing of these products is to create new consumers and therefore it targets children and young people. Advertising and promotion increases consumption of harmful products by children and young people in particular and therefore they will be the main beneficiaries of advertising and promotion bans on these products.

Karen Hoffman

Karen Hoffman

Prof Karen Hoffman said “Comprehensive bans on marketing to vulnerable populations should be harmonized to address the triple threat from the industrial epidemics of alcohol, tobacco and sugary drinks.

“”A ban on advertising of harmful products is part of a comprehensive package of cost-effective interventions including policy change, social mobilisation and support for behaviour change “said Prof. Karen Hoffman.

A Health Promotion Foundation is a vehicle which can gather and mobilise the evidence for health promoting packages and lobby for their implementation as well as draw on inter-sectoral action from in order to protect the health of children.

GAPC2017 Mobilising for change

The Global Alcohol Policy Conference (GAPC2017), Mobilising for change: Alcohol policy and the evidence for action, will be held from 4-6 October 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. Early bird registration is still open until 30 June.

The Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA), Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), and National Alliance for Action on Alcohol Harm (NAAA) invite you down under to this important international conference.

The GAPCs, organised every second year, have become the leading forum for the world’s alcohol policy makers, researchers and practitioners. Melbourne, Australia will be the venue for the 2017 version of the event, following the successful conferences in Thailand, South Korea and Scotland.

The Scientific Advisory Committee of GAPC2017 received a great number of abstract submissions from researchers and practitioners for a range of presentation types including oral presentations, workshops, table-tops and posters. The programme is available at the GAPC2017 web site

GAPC2017 maintains the tradition of focusing on advocacy, overcoming vested interests in alcohol policy development and the need for international collaboration to stop the harm caused by alcohol.

The conference will forge links between evidence and action, using rigorous alcohol policy research to inform effective responses at local, state, national and international levels. Each day will be distinct and dedicate time to learning from other sectors – with a diverse range of speakers and topics beyond alcohol, along with insights from other successful interventions, global alliances, and advocacy movements and how these can be applied to the alcohol policy environment.

Register now
Early bird registration is open until 30 June. More information about the conference is available at the GAPC2017 website.

See you in Melbourne!