Doctors lead calls for pre-watershed junk food and alcohol advertising ban

The British Medical Association has led calls for advertising rules to be toughened up in relation to the promotion of junk food and alcohol, amidst spiralling costs to the NHS in tackling obesity and liver damage.

Ministers in Scotland have already asked Westminster to implement a stricter licensing regime and a ban on television adverts prior to the 21:00 watershed, pointing to the successful ban on smoking commercials.

Dr Peter Bennie, chairman of the BMA Scotland, said: "Despite the serious health harms associated with excessive alcohol consumption and obesity in the UK, these industries use marketing to promote consumption of their products.

"The cost of alcohol to our society is significant and, inevitably, the NHS picks up the pieces.

"Obesity rates too are worryingly high, driven by the promotion and availability of unhealthy foods.

"Obesity brings with it increased risk of a wide range of serious life-threatening and chronic diseases. While doctors have a role to play in supporting overweight patients, there is a limit to what they can do.

"The UK government could take decisive action to change the culture of excess that the junk food and alcohol industry promotes, and tougher regulation of advertising would be a positive first step."

Political divisions have already opened up on the issue however with Scottish Conservatives health spokesperson Jackson Carlaw commenting: "This brainless idea is more evidence of an SNP which thinks state always knows best.

“It's not Nicola Sturgeon's role to act like a deranged head nanny in the SNP's increasingly scary nanny state."

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