Beer and liquor ads should have health warnings similar to the ones on cigarette ads and packages, according to Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah.
He is among a group of House members pushing a bill - called the Sensible Advertising and Family Education Act (SAFE) - to make such warnings mandatory on alcohol ads."Our children are inundated by advertising for alcohol. The average child views over 100,000 beer ads by the age of 21," Orton said. "We need a voice warning our children about the dangers of alcohol and alcoholism.
"Nearly 5 million young people today are dependent on alcohol or are problem drinkers. It's high time we took the approach of education and not just prohibition to take this disease among our nation's youth."
The bill proposes five health warnings that would be rotated in print ads and promotional displays for alcohol:
- Surgeon General's Warning: Drinking during pregnancy may cause mental retardation and other birth defects. Avoid alcohol during pregnancy.
- Warning: Alcohol impairs your ability to drive a car or operate machinery.
- Warning: Alcohol may be hazardous if you are using any other drugs such as over-the-counter, prescription or illicit drugs.
- Warning: Drinking alcohol may become addictive.
- Warning: It's against the law to purchase alcohol for persons under the age of 21.
The bill is supported by numerous consumer, health and family organizations including the National Parents and Teachers Association.