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- Health charities call for action to save lives from Scotlands biggest killers
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- Euros renews call for action to protect children from alcohol sports sponsorship
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- How will the main parties prevent harm from alcohol?
- Alcohol labelling reform is way past its sell by date
- Alcohol policy priorities for the next parliament
- Young drinkers believe prominent health warnings on alcohol could boost risk awareness
- Alcohol and the Workplace Effective Interventions
- Alcohol sales and consumption in Scotland during the pandemic
- How can we prevent alcohol deaths?
- Alcohol Deaths and Minimum Unit Pricing
- Young Scots show support for restrictions on alcohol marketing
- YoungScot Health Panel report on alcohol marketing and harm
- New release of alcohol related hospital admissions
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- Alcohol Deaths Prevention Support
- Almost half of Scots in favour of minimum unit pricing
- NICE Guidelines on FASD Surveillance or Support?
- Leading health charities call for action in Scotland
- Health experts campaign for better understanding of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
- Health experts call for alcohol labelling overhaul
- Survey shows Scots lockdown drinking rise caused by stress
- Alcohol Focus Scotland welcomes new WHO report on alcohol pricing
- Statistical analysis of off-trade alcohol sales in the year following MUP
- Alcohol Focus Scotland Review of statements of licensing policy 2018 to 2023
- We need to continue long-term focus on alcohol
- Scots report changing drinking patterns during coronavirus lockdown
- Time to Blow the Whistle on Alcohol Sport Sponsorship
- New evidence demonstrates that alcohol ads lead to youth drinking
- Alcohol sales fall in first year of MUP
- First study published into under 18 drinkers post MUP
- Commission on Alcohol Harm calls for evidence
- Two years on Are annual functions reports reaching their potential?
- We need to do more to protect our children and young people
- Scottish primary children call for action on alcohol
- New Alcohol Deaths Prevention Support Now Available from AFS
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- A home for Rory
- Making a bad impression - blog post
- Alcohol sales and MUP
- Alcohol marketing and children debate in the Scottish Parliament
- Lowest alcohol sales in 25 years
- Research into fall in violence
- The Children's Parliament investigates an alcohol-free childhood
- Minimum unit pricing one year on
- More about sales data
- A family of resources it is all about prevention, education and resilience
- AFS publish Review of Licensing Board Annual Functions Reports 2017-2018
- Marketing unmasked dispelling the myths and taking a stand
- No place for alcohol marketing in sport
- Scotland publishes first UK guidelines for diagnosing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
- The Alcohol Framework 2018 Preventing Harm
- Scotlands new drug and alcohol strategy launched
- AFS welcome new alcohol strategy
- Recent reporting on alcohol sales data
- Diageo is failing to provide latest guidelines on their products
- Drinks companies keeping consumers in dark about risky drinking
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- Global first alcohol policy set to save hundreds of Scots' lives
- AFS welcomes minimum unit pricing for alcohol
- Truer picture of alcohol harm revealed
- Alcohol causes 3,700 deaths in Scotland every year
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- Minimum pricing blog
- Minimum pricing gets green light
- Alcohol brands and young people
- Time for honest conversations about alcohol
- Q&A on alcohol marketing
- UK children anxious about parents' drinking
- Alcohol producers failing to inform public
- Concern over alcohol-related deaths
- We need to make it easier for people to drink less
- Worrying rise in alcohol-related deaths
- Minimum pricing will save lives
- Pocket money prices for alcohol continue
- Scotland's alcohol problem laid bare
- Cheap alcohol is costing Scotland dear
- One drink a day can increase breast cancer risk
- Poverty linked to increased harm from alcohol
- What next for reducing alcohol harm in Scotland?
- Scotland must do more to turn tide of alcohol harm
- Concern as funding for alcohol services cut
- Scottish Government urged to curb alcohol marketing
- Consumers have the right to know health risks
- Alcohol-free childhood is healthiest option
- SWA granted leave to appeal minimum pricing
- Scottish Greens call for action on alcohol marketing
- SWA will appeal to UK Supreme Court
- SWA urged to respect minimum pricing decision
- Minimum pricing can be implemented in Scotland
- AFS welcomes revised alcohol consumption guidelines
- Emergency services face shocking levels of alcohol abuse
- New toolkit to help children affected by family alcohol problems
- Alcohol campaigners unite to call for stronger protection from alcohol advertising to children
- No completely 'safe' level of drinking
- New alcohol guidelines published
- Minimum pricing - European court ruling
- Alcohol: a global concern
Young Scots show support for restrictions on alcohol marketing
Alexandra Taylor was a member of the YoungScot Health Panel and helped develop policy recommendations around alcohol marketing in Scotland. After her involvement in the Health Panel Alexandra used her experience of the topic for her disseratation as part of her MSc in Public Policy. Here she blogs about her time as a member of the#YSHealth panel and what her further research with young people across Scotland found.
In August 2019, the Scottish Government collaborated with Young Scot to create the Health Panel, a group of 20 young people from across Scotland. Their mission is to improve healthcare services and outcomes for young people in Scotland.
The ‘Alcohol Framework 2018: Preventing Harm’ states the Scottish Government’s aim to protect children and young people from alcohol-related harm, specifically by targeting alcohol marketing. Our first task, set by the Scottish Government Alcohol Harm Prevention Unit, was to develop policy recommendations concerning alcohol advertising in Scotland.
This was a completely new issue for me, and the information we were given was invaluable. As a team, we explored the topic through group discussions and sharing our own experiences of alcohol harms. We also considered evidence presented by academics and individuals working in alcohol harm prevention. This included Dr David Jernigan, a specialist in the field of alcohol advertising particularly concerning young people, Alison Douglas, the CEO of AFS, and Dr Eric Carlin, the Director of SHAAP. Speaking with these experts and seeing them actively engaging with what we were saying was an amazing experience. Young Scot panels are not box-ticking exercises; young people’s opinions actually matter. I felt valued, inspired both by the experts and by the other incredible and passionate young people around me, and so incredibly lucky to be part of the panel.
As a group, we came up with 25 policy recommendations which we divided into seven thematic groups: regulation, culture, campaigns, direct advertising, purchasing, merchandise, and packaging. Through a traffic-light system of cards, using red for ‘no’, orange for ‘needs work’, and green for ‘good to go’, we considered each of the recommendations in turn, re-wording and refining them, even if only one panellist had raised an orange card. As some panellists were unable to attend that meeting, everyone had the opportunity to review all the recommendations through our shared online platform, until we had a consensus.
In June 2020, I had just turned 26, reaching the maximum age for a Young Scot panel, and new panellists were being recruited, so I stepped down. However, thanks to Covid-19 and my MSc Dissertation, I was not quite done with YS Health. Covid-19 meant that the Health Panel’s original report launch scheduled for March was delayed, and I needed a whole new dissertation topic as my placement was cancelled. After spending so much time developing my knowledge of alcohol policy, realising just how much alcohol harms hurt Scottish society, and already missing the Health Panel, I had my dissertation title: Young Scots’ Attitudes Towards the Young Scot Health Panel’s Alcohol Advertising Recommendations. I knew that we had developed positive and impactful recommendations, but I wondered how other young people would view them, especially without the benefit of the information we had received.
Through an online survey which reached 115 young people in 11 Health Board areas, it was clear that we were mostly in agreement. Participants agreed with 19 of the 25 recommendations made by the Young Scot panel, from creating an independent regulating body for alcohol advertising (recommendation 2) to prohibiting alcohol marketing on billboards and posters near to schools, nurseries and playgrounds, and on public transport vehicles, stops and stations (recommendation 14). While participants were mostly neutral towards three of the recommendations and disagreed with a further three recommendations, my own further research suggests there is good evidence to support implementation of these recommendations too.
Given the existing evidence which highlights the potential of these recommendations to reduce the alcohol harms faced by young people, mostly by making alcohol advertising less appealing, I believe it is highly likely that if survey participants had been presented with this information they would have agreed with our recommendations. Public engagement with research is paramount.
I’m glad I chose to write my dissertation on this topic, because it was so positive to see that even without the research the YS Health Panel accessed, participants supported most of the recommendations, even stating that “I don't think alcohol should be advertised at all, just like smoking. Youth in particular have to be protected from making drinking alcohol a habit.” This shows that young people’s experience aligns with what the evidence base demonstrates, identifying the same issues that need to be improved and resolved. Alcohol advertising is harmful and should be restricted. A participant even stated that “Attractive packaging was a large factor that drew me to alcohol in the first place. If it had been less interesting I wouldn't have been interested”.
Earlier this month, some of the YS Health panellists met virtually with Maree Todd MSP, Minister for Children and Young People, and Joe Fitzpatrick MSP, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing. Current panellists explained the reasoning behind the recommendations and I briefly presented my MSc research. Meeting the Ministers was so exciting, because they were both very encouraging and positive about our work, engaging with our discussions. It felt like the Ministers understand the value of involving young people in decision-making and that our recommendations matter. I hope our work has shown them, the Scottish Government, and other stakeholders how important regulating alcohol advertising is for the benefit of Scotland’s children, young people, and citizens.
The report was launched yesterday, and I am so proud of what the original team accomplished. None of it would have been possible without Ellie Snape, our dedicated Co-design Officer, and the wider Young Scot team, who provided a supportive atmosphere ideal for any young person to thrive in. Thank you for everything. I am looking forward to seeing what YS Health will achieve next.
20 November 2020.