By Dan Santy 18/07 Updated: 18/07 07:20
ADDICTION charity Swanswell is calling for the dangers of alcohol abuse to be highlighted at large-scale sporting events such as the Olympics.
The Corporation Street charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, says it is vital people have access to good quality advice at Olympic venues and football grounds where alcohol is sold.
Bosses say alcohol has become synonymous with celebrations and sport, and many drinks makers base advertising campaigns on this in the run up to such events and link their brands through sponsorship.
Although manufacturers urge consumers to drink responsibly, Swanswell believes they should go further by actively warning people about the hazards of drinking too much and toning down their advertising at events – particularly those where children attend.
Debbie Bannigan, Swanswell’s Chief Executive, said: "Although alcohol can be enjoyed responsibly, there is a fine line before it becomes a problem.
"There’s much debate about banning alcohol sponsorship of big sporting events but something needs to be done now – the drinks industry could take the lead by pro-actively warning people about alcohol misuse at the events they’re promoting their products at.
"They spend around £800 million a year on alcohol promotion, so we think more of their budget should go towards providing independent advice and support.
"It would allow people to make informed choices about their own alcohol use without influence from big brand marketing.
"Ultimately, we all have a responsibility to help tackle alcohol misuse and it’s not something any government or organisation can do on its own."
Visit www.swanswell.org to find out more about Swanswell and the services it provides.
* Swanswell is also calling for an end to confusion over whether it is safe to drink alcohol while pregnant.
The charity said recent suggestions by scientists that moderate drinking in early pregnancy is safe has added to confusion over the issue.
It comes after a group of scientists in Denmark hit the headlines for suggesting having one to eight alcoholic drinks a week during pregnancy would not cause harm in children.
But in the UK women are advised not to drink alcohol at all.
Ms Bannigan said: "There is already a bewildering amount of advice out there for expectant mothers – they have enough to deal with without worrying about how much alcohol they can ‘safely’ consume.
"But the government and public bodies have a duty to keep it clear and simple – if you want to avoid risking the health of your child, don’t drink when pregnant."
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