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04/03/2008

2nd Meeting of the Special Task Force on Marketing and Communication

The 2nd meeting of the Youth Task Force took place in Luxembourg on 4 - 5 March 2008.

It was composed of a one-day workshop followed by a half day meeting.

As can be seen in the Workshop programme , most of the presentations were delivered by experts from the alcohol and advertising industries. In these presentations, their own advertising ethics, codes and high compliance rates were highlighted.

Dr. Esther van den Wildenberg (STAP) presented an overview of the results of her organisation's activities regarding the monitoring of alcohol marketing. The results showed that self-regulation in the Netherlands doesn't result in the protection of young people against attractive alcohol marketing practices.

The industry representatives discarded any correlation between exposure to alcohol marketing and drinking behaviour among adolescents. Prof. Van Raaij, of the University in Tilburg, argued in his presentation that advertising does not stimulate demand of general alcoholic drinks in a mature market.
Director of the Social Marketing Institute, Prof. Gerard Hastings, however, showed consistent findings from recent longitudinal studies that suggest that alcohol marketing does indeed influence young's people's drinking.

In his conclusions, Robert Madelin, Director General of DG SANCO, stated that DG SANCO┬┤s working hypothesis is that the balance of evidence shows cumulative effect of marketing on young people's knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.

This suggests that EC will take the harmful effect of alcohol marketing on drinking behaviour in adolescents as a point of departure in further meetings.

The presentations delivered during the Workshop of 04-05/03/2008 and the Chair's report Task Force meeting of can be found at:

http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_determinants/life_style/alcohol/Forum/alcohol_forum_en.htm

The conclusions of the Chair on the workshop and the Task Force meeting which followed the workshop, and which continued the discussions on the issues raised at the workshop, will be published shortly.