Is this the Bill gov­ern­ment doesn’t want you

Mail & Guardian - - Health - Michelle du Toit

The gov­ern­ment is vi­o­lat­ing its con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tions, as well as in­ter­na­tional law, by with­hold­ing a Bill from the pub­lic. The Con­trol of Mar­ket­ing of Al­co­hol Bev­er­ages Bill of 2013 has not been made avail­able for pub­lic com­ment — for no ap­par­ent rea­son and de­spite nu­mer­ous ef­forts by the South­ern Africa Al­co­hol Pol­icy Al­liance (Saapa).

This key piece of leg­is­la­tion seeks to ad­dress the link be­tween the mar­ket­ing of al­co­hol and al­co­hol abuse as well as al­co­hol-re­lated health is­sues, such as gen­der-based vi­o­lence.

Al­co­hol mar­ket­ing di­rectly in­flu­ences con­sump­tion and im­pacts greatly on so­ci­ety, es­pe­cially the youth, a 2018 Uni­ver­sity of Cape Town study found.

The Bill sup­pos­edly pro­hibits the ad­ver­tis­ing and mar­ket­ing of al­co­hol — ex­cept for at the point of sale — spon­sor­ship as­so­ci­ated with al­co­holic bev­er­ages and the pro­mo­tion of al­co­holic bev­er­ages. But the al­co­hol in­dus­try has a sub­stan­tial in­ter­est in post­pon­ing the Bill’s re­lease — and the leg­isla­tive process — for as long as pos­si­ble to safe­guard its prof­its.

South Africa has one of the high­est binge drink­ing rates in the world. A 2017 study pub­lished in the jour­nal Drug and Al­co­hol Re­view found that the na­tion had the sev­enth-high­est binge-drink­ing rate out of 10 coun­tries, in­clud­ing Bri­tain, Thai­land and Aus­tralia.

In South Africa, 25% of young peo­ple un­der the age of 19 binge drink, the 2013 South African Na­tional Youth Risk Be­hav­iour Sur­vey re­vealed. Un­der­age binge drink­ing is a par­tic­u­larly harm­ful form of drink­ing be­cause young peo­ple who do it are also more likely to have dan­ger­ous al­co­hol con­sump­tion pat­terns as adults.

A 2017 study pub­lished in Ad­dic­tion shows binge drink­ing is also as­so­ci­ated with a higher risk of de­vel­op­ing life­style dis­eases.

The gov­ern­ment spends over R263­bil­lion an­nu­ally on al­co­hol-re­lated harms, such as poor health, do­mes­tic or in­ter­per­sonal vi­o­lence, and road ac­ci­dents, ac­cord­ing to a 2017 Western Cape White Pa­per on al­co­hol-re­lated harm re­duc­tion pol­icy.

On av­er­age, 171 al­co­hol-re­lated deaths oc­curred per day in South Africa in 2017, a 2018 study in the open-ac­cess jour­nal BMC Medicine states.

The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion has ad­dressed al­co­hol ad­ver­tis­ing in two poli­cies: the Global Strat­egy to Re­duce the Harm­ful Use of Al­co­hol and the Global Sta­tus Re­port on Non­Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­eases 2010. The lat­ter re­gards mar­ket­ing reg­u­la­tions as an ef­fec­tive mea­sure for ad­dress­ing al­co­hol-re­lated non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases such as var­i­ous forms of liver dis­ease — in­clud­ing cir­rho­sis —

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.