Reducing harm caused by alcohol

No place in childhood for alcohol marketing

Protect children from alcohol marketing

In 2016 Alcohol Focus Scotland, SHAAP, SFAD and BMA Scotland set up a joint initiative to protect children from alcohol marketing. This campaign was supported by more than 40 organisations and over half of MSPs from the previous Parliament.

This support helped successfully secure a commitment from the Scottish Government to consult on alcohol marketing restrictions in their 2018 Alcohol Framework. The consultation took place between Novermber 2022 and March 2023, and the results will be published later this year. 

Alcohol marketing leads children and young people to start drinking earlier, to drink more, and to drink at problematic levels. This is why we need change. 

Please support our campaign to protect future generations of children and young people from the problems associated with alcohol marketing by signing up to our campaign statement:

“I believe that alcohol marketing has no place in childhood. All children should play, learn and socialise in places that are healthy and safe, protected from exposure to alcohol marketing”

Contact Rebecca Sibbett to pledge your support.

Marketing campaign


End alcohol marketing in childhood

Alcohol brands are highly visible in our everyday lives. Whether it’s adverts on TV, cinema, billboards or online, in magazines and newspapers, at shops, pubs, or sponsorship of sporting and music events - there’s really no avoiding them

The alcohol industry spends billions of pounds every year on marketing their products. Young people are particularly susceptible to the influence of alcohol marketing, and due to weak advertising codes in Scotland and the UK, are regularly exposed to it.  

survey we carried out found 10 and 11 year olds were more familiar with certain beer brands than leading brands of biscuits, crisps and ice cream.

This is concerning because there is strong evidence that exposure to alcohol marketing leads young people to  drink at an earlier age, and to drink more. In fact, new research has confirmed that alcohol marketing causes underage drinking, using the same methodology as was used to show that tobacco causes cancer. 

Primary school children in Scotland recognise that adverts can be harmful to children, and have called for the removal of alcohol adverts so that children can’t see them, and to stop alcohol sport sponsorship of events at which children are present.   

In 2020, the Young Scot Health Panel of children and young people aged 14-25 years recommended mandatory controls on alcohol marketing, including restrictions on alcohol advertising on TV, in cinemas and in public places, and content requirements for adverts and packaging to reduce appeal to young people and warn them of the dangers of drinking.

Scottish Government alcohol marketing consultation

The Scottish Government recently consulted on alcohol advertising and promotion. The consultation closed on 9 March 2023. The Scottish Government have indicated that the responses will be analysed by an independent contractor and published in a report, before they consider possible restrictions. 

AFS had created a list of key resources and contacts to support people to respond.

Further reading