The Australian Drug Foundation applauds former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett’s call for the banning all advertising, promotion and marketing of alcohol products. The annual cost of harmful alcohol consumption is huge in Australia, and includes 5500 deaths and 170,000 hospitalisations every year.
Conservative cost estimates comprise crime ($1.6 billion), health ($1.9 billion), productivity loss in the workplace ($3.5 billion), loss of productivity in the home ($1.5 billion) and road trauma ($2.2 billion). Mr Kennett is spot on when he points to the banning of tobacco advertising on television and radio nearly 40 years ago, and the benefits that brave step has delivered to the Australian community.
However tackling smoking deaths didn’t stop with just banning tobacco advertising. We introduced ground-breaking policies that slashed the harms from tobacco including reducing availability, reducing access, restricting where tobacco can be used, warning labels, increasing prices, banning tobacco sponsorship of sport and educating the community about the harms. Now is the time to take the same comprehensive approach towards alcohol, so that we can reduce the massive cost and harm that is borne by the Australian community each year due to excessive and harmful alcohol consumption.