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Brands Matter

Latvia proposes ban on alcohol advertising

The Latvian Health Ministry has proposed a ban on all alcohol advertising, including television, radio and online – a move the Consumer Choice Center has criticised.

he plans were included in the Latvian Health Ministry’s draft of its national health strategy, and included a proposal to limit the availability of alcohol at certain points of sale.

However, the Consumer Choice Center, which represents consumers in more than 100 countries and monitors regulatory trends, said the ministry was “going down the wrong path with this strategy”.

Bill Wirtz, senior policy analyst at the Consumer Choice Center, commented: “Alcohol is a legal product, therefore consumers should be allowed to be informed about it. The belief that a restriction of advertising reduces alcohol-related health concerns is antiquated.

“The ministry also believes it needs more monitoring of the illegal alcohol market in the country. But there is no need for long investigations: high alcohol taxes have created a fertile ground for this shadow economy.

“Talinn and Riga have recognised this fact by moving to reduce taxes on alcohol. This national health strategy of banning advertisement, however, goes down the way of Lithuanian alcohol policies, which get stricter by the year, without showing added benefits.

“Patronising consumers and educating them are two fundamentally different things. It appears the Latvian government does not yet know how to tell both apart.”

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Campaigners speak out against latest plain pack recommendations

Maria Chaplia, media associate at the Consumer Choice Center, also voiced her concerns over the report. She said that nannying consumers by taking the responsibility for food choices off their shoulders is “a curse in disguise”.

“There is no one who denies the importance of addressing obesity. Yet there is a huge disagreement on how to solve the issue.

“The options on the table are either to limit consumer choice by proceeding with plain packaging, taxes, and other bans, or to encourage responsible parenting and physical activity without trumping on anyone’s choices. The latter is the preferred way forward.”

She added: “Plain packaging of tobacco products is driven by similar public health considerations. However, regardless of the equally noble motives in place, its failures are numerous and evident.

“The British obesity problem is rooted in the lack of physical activity, not in consumption preferences. According to Public Health England, physical activity in the UK declined by 24% since the 1960s.

“By pushing forward the plain packaging of foods, its proponents are simply shooting in the wrong direction.”

She concluded that “the most unacceptable part” of the IPPR’s plain packaging scheme is that it stems from the assumption that it knows what choices are better for individuals.

“Though framed to be in the public interest, this is highly pretentious. Not only does this belief undermine the ability of consumers to decide for themselves, but it also blocks their access to the information about the products they buy and consume.

“Information is dispersed through branding. Plain packaging is aimed to make our life plain of choices.”

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Sweets, crisps and sugary drinks should have plain packaging, says think tank

In response to the report, Maria Chaplia, media associate at the Consumer Choice Center, said: “The British obesity problem is rooted in the lack of physical activity, not in consumption preferences. According to Public Health England, physical activity in the UK declined by 24% since the 1960s. By pushing forward the plain packaging of foods, its proponents are simply shooting in the wrong direction.

“The most unacceptable part of the IPPR’s plain packaging scheme is that it stems from the assumption that it knows what choices are better for individuals. Though framed to be in the public interest, this is highly pretentious. Not only does this belief undermine the ability of consumers to decide for themselves, but it also blocks their access to the information about the products they buy and consume. Information is dispersed through branding. Plain packaging is aimed to make our life plain of choices.”

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Consumer Choice Center Presents signatories of ‘Brands Matter’ pledge

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Eltern nicht bevormunden

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