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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 03:41 GMT 04:41 UK
Call for alcohol advert watershed
Tray of drinks
Alcohol commercials are already banned from some programmes
TV adverts for alcoholic drinks should be banned before the nine o'clock watershed, a campaign group has said.

Alcohol Concern said thousands of children are watching the commercials during popular programmes such as The Simpsons and The X Factor.

Alcohol ads increased "dramatically" at times when children came home from school, a study by the group added.

Drinks companies said toughened rules already banned adverts from targeting or appealing to people aged under 18.

'Peace of mind'

Alcohol commercials are already banned from programmes where children make up more than 20%of the audience, but the report said it still means the adverts are seen by thousands of young people.

Alcohol Concern chief executive Srabani Sen said: "A watershed ban is the only way to give parents the peace of mind of knowing that their children can be kept safe from the influence of advertising."

Broadcasters and drinks firms said a ban before the watershed was going too far.

'Ban disproportionate'

David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group which represents nine drinks companies, said: "The advertising rules, which were toughened two years ago, ban adverts from targeting or appealing to under-18s.

"Shielding this age group from any images of alcohol is not helping them grow up with sensible and balanced attitudes to drinking."

Advertising Association spokesman Jonathan Collett said a pre-watershed ban would be "unnecessary and disproportionate."

The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice said it was not considering a change to its alcohol codes.

Alcohol Concern's Not In Front Of The Children report, funded by the Alcohol Education and Research Council, monitored alcohol adverts for one week each in December 2006 and March 2007.


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