Over half of schools have alcohol advertising within 500m, according to new research published in the New Zealand medical journal.
In the study, 50 schools were randomly selected, and their surroundings surveyed. Over half of these schools had at least one alcohol advertisement in a 500m radius.
Lower decile schools were even more likely to be exposed to alcohol advertising, with 63 percent having alcohol advertisements in a 500m radius.
Auckland Secondary Schools’ Principals’ Association President Greg Pierce said that alcohol remains a significant issue in secondary schools.
“From my perspective and experiences alcohol is the drug of choice for teenagers. The more we can limit their exposure to [it], the better,” said Pierce.
According to the New Zealand Health Survey 2019-20, 57.5 percent of 15 – 17 year olds reported drinking in the past year. In the 2020-21 health survey, 78.5 percent of adults aged 15 and above drank alcohol in the past year. However, trends in hazardous drinking for 15 – 17-year-olds seem to be falling. In 2019-20, 11.6 percent of 15 – 17-year-olds reported hazardous drinking, whereas in 2020-21 it was 10.2 percent.
Currently, there are no mandatory regulations around advertising alcohol around schools. Guidelines from Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) currently state that alcohol advertising and promotion must not be on “fixed sites within a 300-metre sightline of the main entrance to a primary, intermediate or secondary school”.
However, researcher and health promotional adviser from Alcohol Healthwatch, Sarah Sneyd, says that these guidelines are ineffective because “they’re not bylaws, they’re not laws, and the ASA isn’t able to put in penalties or fines for people who are breaching that”.