AMA Puts Out Electronic Ban on Alcohol Advertising

AMA Call to Ban Electronic Advertising of …

WASHINGTON, June 27 /U.S. Newswire/ — The Distilled Spirits Council
of the United States today expressed its disappointment with the American
Medical Association’s call to ban distilled spirits television
advertising. Of all organizations, the AMA knows that alcohol is alcohol,
that beer, wine and distilled spirits contain the same basic ingredient
— ethyl alcohol.

At least four U.S. cabinet departments and hundreds of public health
advocates in the United States define a drink of alcohol as 12 ounces of
beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
Virtually every health group in the United States subscribes to the facts
of equivalency and that as a result, there is no drink of moderation,
only the practice.

The AMA is also wrong when they link distilled spirits advertising to
underage drinking. For decades, DISCUS and its members have abided by a
strong, honored and recognized policy stressing responsible, dignified
and tasteful advertising to adults who choose to drink. DISCUS members
strongly oppose marketing and sales, including television advertising,
that targets underage persons.

Given that alcohol is alcohol and distillers do not advertise or
market to underage persons, the AMA call for a ban on television and
radio advertising by distilled spirits producers is highly discriminatory
and unsupportable. Beer, wine and distilled spirits have a legal right to
advertise and there is no basis to discriminate against one form of

Following is a fact sheet of beverage alcohol equivalence: All alcohol
beverages have one thing in common — they contain alcohol. Standard
servings of beer, wine and spirits — a 12-ounce can of beer, a 5-ounce
glass of wine and a 1 1/2-ounce shot of 80-proof distilled spirits — all
contain the same amount of absolute alcohol. A diverse collection of
established experts recognize that “alcohol is alcohol is alcohol,” and
that there is no scientific basis for treatingdistilled spirits
differently from other beverages alcohol. — The federal government
(Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Transportation
and Education), the American Medical Association, Mothers Against Drunk
Driving, Blue Cross/Blue Shield d Alcoholism, HHS, recognizes that
alcohol is alcohol: “A standard drink is generally considered to be 12
ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled
spirits. Each of these drinks contain roughly the same amount of absolute
alcohol — approximately 0.5-ounce or 12 grams.” (Source: Alcohol Alert,
No. 16) –

The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration concurred with other federal agencies ct Sheet: “Alcohol
is alcohol. Beer has the same effect as straight Scotch.” — Laws and
regulations treat all beverages alcohol equally. Alcohol warning labels,
minimum drinking age laws and drunk driving laws do not distinguish among
distilled spirits, beer or wine. — The National Alcohol Beverage
Control Association, the association of the 19 alcohol control
jurisdictions in the U.S., conducted a public education campaign on
equivalency. Public service advertisements with the message, “A Sobering
Fact About Alcohol: It’s Not What You Drink, It’s How Much” were widely
disseminated throughout the 19 control jurisdictions. — The U.S.
Supreme Court’s recent reinforcement of the beverage alcohol industry’s
commercial free speech rights, in its decision in 44 Liquormart v. Rhode
Island, did not distinguish among distilled spirits, beer or wine. — On
June 12,1995, the Federal Court of Canada repealed country’s prohibition
of distilled spirit’s advertising on television and radio. Prominent
researchers and clinicians in Canada testified that all alcohol should be
treated equally under the law. Allan Wilson M.D., Ph.D., clinical
director of Royal Ottawa Hospital addiction programs, testified that
“There is no coherent body of scientific evidence to support the
differential treatment of beer, wine and distilled spirits.” — In an
affidavit before the court, Harold Kalant, M.D., Ph.D., Professor
Emeritus in Pharmacology, University of Toronto and Assistant Research
Director of the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario concluded,
“…there is no logical basis in scientific evidence for differential
treatment of different types of alcoholic beverage.”

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