Law Submitted to Congress Proposing the Regulation of Alcoholic Beverages
Author: Loreto Bresky, Albagli, Zaliasnik & Cia.
A draft law has recently been submitted to the Congress of the Republic of Chile that proposes the regulation of advertising of alcoholic beverages. This proposal has been presented on the basis of a concern for promoting public welfare and amongst this, people’s health, establishing that an adequate protection of our health is required in the face of a problem in our current society such as alcoholism.
Although it is true that norms exist to regulate the production, preparation, marketing, export and import of alcohol and vinegar and another that deals with the sale of alcoholic beverages, the measures on prevention and rehabilitation of alcoholism and the sanctions and the procedures applicable to those that infringe the pertinent regulations, in none of these legal provisions is there a norm that regulates the advertising of alcohol. Notwithstanding the above, we should point out that currently, advertising of alcohol falls under the auspices of CONAR’s (Council for the Self-Regulation and Ethics of Advertising) Code of Ethics, which is not binding and states that:
Advertising of alcoholic beverages may not contain messages or be aired through media or during hours specially directed at minors, nor may it encourage them to consume such products.
In particular, this advertising must avoid:
A. The utilization of minors, both in image and voice, whichever the media used. All those appearing in such advertising must be and must appear to be adults.
B. The utilization of situations typically of minors.
C. The utilization of backups, media or their sections, directed fundamentally at minors.
D. Their display in cultural, social or sporting events directed specifically at minors.
Advertising of alcoholic beverages must not encourage excessive or irresponsible consumption, nor induce its consumption in illegal, dangerous, improper or socially unacceptable places or circumstances.
Advertising in general must not depict alcoholic beverages as a challenge. Nor must they imply contempt for those that do not consume these products.
Advertisements for alcoholic beverages must not imply any association between their consumption and driving vehicles.
Those promoting this proposed law maintain that the heavy limitations placed on tobacco in order to protect public health appear totally arbitrary if the same is not done with alcohol, a product that can be equally or more harmful to one’s health than tobacco.
It is of no use to have, on the one hand, prevention campaigns, but on the other, to be able to see advertisements during the “All Spectator” timetable and thus depicting drinking favorably, especially for the youth.
For this reason, the project seeks to severely limit the advertising of products that contain alcohol, establishing that this may only be displayed between midnight and 6am and with that prevent minors from watching the advertisements. Furthermore, it establishes the obligation of producers of alcoholic products and those that publicize them, to place on them a label with clearly visible dimensions on which it must demonstrate graphically that alcohol is harmful to one’s health.
Thus, the containers or labels of any alcoholic beverage with a grade of 4.5º or higher, must bear, in a legible form, utilizing distinguishing colors between the text and the background and occupying 15% of the total surface of the label, one of the following messages:
“Warning: EXCESSIVE CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL IS HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH”. “Warning: “CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL DURING PREGNANCY MAY CAUSE IRREVERSIBLE HARM TO THE FETUS”. “Warning: “SALE FORBIDDEN TO MINORS”
The same phrase shall be included in the advertisements inserted in newspapers, magazines, television spots and radio announcements and, in general, in any propaganda or promotion of consumption of alcohol announced by any social communications media.
In the case of television or cinematographic propaganda, after the spot or announcement, a sign that covers the entire screen containing the warning described in Point 2 will be projected for a period of not less than 5 seconds.
Furthermore, the project proposes that the communications media may not display simultaneously advertising of alcoholic beverages and State publicity.
Infringement of these norms will carry fines that fluctuate between approximately USD 2,000 and USD 4,000.The project was sent to Congress recently so there is still much ground to be covered and it may well suffer modifications during this period.