Latvian Physicians support Health Ministry's alcohol advertising ban

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Narcologists express support of the Health Ministry's (VM) plan for reducing alcohol consumption, reported LSM's Latvian service on July 5. The Riga Center for Psychiatry and Narcology noted that the ministry's planned restrictions are aimed primarily at adolescents. 

The plan, which is currently under public discussion, envisages a ban on the advertising of alcohol on television, radio or the internet, as well as the sale of alcoholic beverages in gas stations and the reduction of the allowable blood alcohol content for drivers to 0.2 per mille.

Emergency after emergency enters the admissions department of the Riga Center fro Psychiatry and Narcology. The cars are bearing patients with acute health problems caused, most often, by alcohol consumption. Astrīda Stirna, head of the Center's Narcology Service remarks that the ministry's planned restrictions are aimed primarily at adolescents.

Health organizations in Europe and the world at large are currently doing a lot of research on alcohol consumption.

"Expert research has proved the important role that advertising and accessibility plays in alcohol consumption.

These are the three main factors that affect consumption," said Stirna.

Narcologists support the restrictions, adding that campaigns, discounts and other marketing tricks encourage the buyer to make spontaneous decisions, such as buying numerous bottles instead of one. This is also noted as a restriction in the forthcoming action plan. 

"Alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of premature death, so there's already enough alcohol consumption amongst young people. 

All Latvian citizens are invited to familiarize himself with the draft plan, express his opinion, send it to the Health Ministry,” said Inga Birzniece, head of the Health promotion and Addiction Prevention Department of the Ministry of Health.

Suggestions are accepted until August 5, and will then be discussed by the government after their compilation.

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