Estonia proposes alcohol crackdown bill

20th October, 2015 by Melita Kiely

Estonia’s minister of health has proposed a new bill restricting alcohol advertising, forbidding sales in petrol stations and banning happy hours in bars and restaurants.

Alcohol abuse Scotland

Estonia’s minister of health has proposed strict regulations on alcohol sales and advertising

Jevgeni Ossinovski is endeavouring to bring alcohol consumption down to fewer than eight litres of pure alcohol per person per year – a statistic that currently stands at 10 litres.

“We know from statistics and research that consumption of alcohol can be reduced by raising the price and restricting advertising and accessibility,” said Ossinovski, as reported by Baltic Business News. “Different measures including increasing the excise duty have been used, but alcohol consumption in Estonia has practically not declined from 2009 to this day.

“Consequently, the previous measures have not been sufficient. Therefore we have decided to significantly step up restrictions on both alcohol advertising and accessibility of alcoholic beverages.”

According to the bill, alcoholic drinks would have to be separated from other products in stores from 1 January 2018 and from 2017 onwards, petrol stations would not be allowed to sell any alcohol.

In terms of advertising, alcohol TV adverts would no longer be allowed to include audio or visual designs and all outdoor advertising would be banned.

Alcohol commercials would be restricted to a black and white still image and short audio cue describing the product information and a health warning.

The existing alcohol advert watershed would be moved from 9pm to 10pm.

However, producers have condemned the moves and the Estonian Food Industry Association has argued the legislation would “undermine the competitive position” of the nation’s drinks industry.

“It will ruin the competitiveness of Estonian food producers,” claimed Sirje Potisepp, manager of the Estonian Food Industry Association. “Restrictions on advertising, marketing and sales which are not based on evidence and do not eliminate an identified problem in the best possible manner will soon render senseless maintaining the jobs and production facilities of the domestic beverage industry in Estonia, because the possibilities for foreign competitors to present their products will be preserved.

“Nobody’s been consulted and one has started to attack the whole national beverage industry.”

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