A new report published by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has suggested that there is a lack of evidence to support a ban on alcohol advertising. The findings are in response to the Scottish government’s plans to limit such advertising.

Earlier this year, the Scottish government launched a consultation to assess a proposed restriction on the advertisement and promotion of alcoholic drinks.

However, the IEA has now suggested that there is lack of evidence to demonstrate a link between alcohol advertising and consumption.

According to the report, Alcohol Advertising: What does the evidence show?, alcohol advertising fell by 10.8% in Britain between 1991 and 2001, while consumption increased by 15.8% in the same time period.

The IEA also cited a 2014 Cochrane Review which noted “a lack of robust evidence for or against recommending the implementation of alcohol advertising restrictions”. 

Christopher Snowdon, report author and head of lifestyle economics at the IEA, said: “The claim that banning alcohol advertising would reduce the amount of alcohol-related harm in society has remarkably little evidence to support it. Advertising affects the market share of individual brands, but the amount of money spent on alcohol advertising has no effect on alcohol consumption overall.”

Snowdon said that the government’s current proposal is not an “evidence-based policy”, adding: “Strident claims from anti-alcohol campaigners about advertising should be taken with a pinch of salt. This evidence review found that only a few high-quality studies have looked at this issue, and the evidence is, at best, mixed.”