THE Scottish Government is being urged to introduce “comprehensive restrictions” on alcohol marketing, after a new poll showed a majority in favour.

Research by YouGov found 75% of people support controls being brought in to limit how much children and young people are exposed to drinks advertising.

Some 68% backed a ban on alcohol advertising on the TV before 9pm, while 71% said that in cinemas adverts for alcohol should only be shown before films with an 18 certificate. Meanwhile, 51% supported barring alcohol advertising in outdoor and public places, such as in parks and on public transport.

In the wake of the poll, the Alcohol Health Alliance, a coalition of more than 50 organisations working to tackle drink related harm, called for action from both Holyrood and Westminster.

It comes after figures in August showed a 17% increase in alcohol-specific deaths in Scotland in 2020, with 1190 fatalities recorded over the year.

Alcohol Focus Scotland, a member of the alliance, insisted more needed to be done to protect young people.

Chief executive Alison Douglas said: “Alcohol companies invest billions of pounds a year in marketing their products but despite an ever-growing evidence base that exposure to alcohol marketing is a cause of drinking onset and binge drinking, the current system of self-regulation is failing to protect our young people.

“The figures released last week on the high number of deaths from alcohol in Scotland underline the need to redouble our efforts on prevention in line with what works, increasing the price, limiting the availability and restricting the marketing of alcohol.

“This new polling shows the Scottish public support controls to reduce alcohol marketing to protect our children and young people. It is time for the Scottish Government to respond by introducing comprehensive restrictions on alcohol marketing, in line with World Health Organisation recommendations.”

Dr Nathan Critchlow, an academic fellow at the Institute for Social Marketing and Health at Stirling University, said regulating the marketing of alcohol was an “important topic of debate, both in Scotland and internationally”.

He stated: “Several countries in Europe already have strict controls, while Ireland is in the process of implementing a range of new restrictions and the Scottish Government plans to consult on whether to introduce new controls.

“Tobacco and alcohol are not identical products but the impact of restrictions on tobacco marketing on youth smoking rates are plain to see, so it is logical that restrictions on alcohol marketing may be similarly effective.”