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    Football, Beer and Ads: British Kids Know More Beer Brands Than Sweets

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    Campaigners are calling for stricter controls on the marketing and advertising of alcoholic products in the UK after new research found that some British children as young as ten were more familiar with beer brands, than brands of crisps, biscuits and ice-cream.

    The survey, which questioned more than 800 English and Scottish students between the ages of 10 and 11, raised concerns over the extent that alcohol advertising was having on children.

    The research, put together by charity Alcohol Concern, revealed that 93 per cent of students surveyed recognised Fosters as a beer brand, showing that it was more recognisable than other brands of sweets, such as McVitie's, McCoy's and Ben & Jerry's.

    Also raising concern was that many children identified particular sporting tournaments and teams by the beer brands that they sponsored, leading to calls to overhaul existing alcohol marketing arrangements.

    For example, many students associated the lager Carlsberg and the English football team due to its sponsorship agreement, while the Everton football club was associated with the beer Chang, which is the club's shirt sponsor.

    Calls for alcohol advertising ban

    Tom Smith, Head of Policy at Alcohol Concern, said more needs to be done to curb the alcohol advertising impacts on children.

    "This research shows just how many of our children are being exposed to alcohol marketing, with an even bigger impact being made on those children with an interest in sport.

    "Children get bombarded with pro-drinking messages, when they turn on the TV, go to the cinema or walk down the road, and the existing codes are failing to protect them."

    "We also know the public share our concerns, which is why we need urgent action from the government to make sure tighter regulations on alcohol advertising are implemented."

    Ads could lead to youth drinking

    There are also concerns that children who are exposed to the advertising of alcoholic products may be encouraged to start drinking at an earlier age.

    Professor Gerard Hastings, founder of the Institute of Social Marketing at the University of Stirling, said: "This research shows that alcohol marketing is clearly making an impression on our children.

    Existing evidence shows that exposure to alcohol marketing leads young people to start drinking at an earlier age and to drink more.

    "As the 6 Nations rugby kicks off with Guinness as its ‘official beer', thousands of children across the UK will once again see alcohol associated with a major sporting event."

    However, some alcohol industry groups have criticised the findings, saying that it isn't necessarily reflective of the nature of youth drinking rates in the UK.

    Official statistics have shown that the proportion of teenagers who regularly drink has dropped in recent decades, while those in opposition to enforcing stricter advertising say that the rules will have no impact on drinking levels.

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    children, United Kingdom
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