As part of a series of newly released action points, Drinks Ireland has committed to reduce the online exposure of young people to alcohol by working with digital platforms to implement better safeguards.

The action point forms part of a new drive by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) to reduce underage drinking globally. Drinks Ireland, which represents Irish drinks producers and brand owners, has signed up to the plan at a national level.

Actions that will be taken to tackle underage drinking include:

  • The introduction of clear age-restriction symbols or equivalent words on all alcohol products, including no-alcohol variants. This will start to be rolled out immediately, with compliance across all markets by 2024
  • The industry will continue to work wit digital platforms to implement online safeguards in it efforts to prevent minors from seeing or interacting with alcohol brands online
  • Safeguards will be in place for at least 95% of online alcohol marketing by 2024
  • The industry will not market alcohol-free extensions of alcohol brands to anyone underage
  • The industry will seek to work with online retailers, postal services, and delivery companies to develop a global code of conduct for the online sale and delivery of alcohol

Albert Baladi, President and CEO of Beam Suntory and IARD CEO Chair, said: “Although underage drinking has fallen in many parts of the world, this trend is not universal. We want to accelerate progress and work with others to eliminate underage drinking in every community through a whole-of-society approach.

“We call on other producers to join us. We call on retailers to work with us to do more to prevent minors from buying alcohol in stores and online. And we call on parents and other adults to support us by not buying alcohol for, or sharing alcohol with, children and minors, even if they do this with good intentions.”

The news comes following the release of new figures at the start of 2020, showing that underage alcohol consumption has declined in Ireland this past decade.

The figures show that 69% of young people in Ireland aged between 10-17 have never had an alcoholic drink, an increase of 11% since 2014. The Irish study, which was part of a global study for the World Health Organisation (WHO), was commissioned by the Department of Health and carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway.

Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland said: “We believe that underage drinking should absolutely never occur, and acknowledge that in a changing world, where media is consumed online by young people, further action must be taken to tackle underage drinking.

“We are proud to sign up to IARD’s commitments today on behalf of the Irish drinks industry.”

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