Alcohol Change Victoria (ACV) welcomes the 32 recommendations of the Community Affairs References Committee Senate Inquiry into Effective Approaches to Prevention, Diagnosis and Support for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and applauds the Committee for recommending a range of policy reforms to protect the health of Australian women and babies.
The recommendations, particularly around marketing, pricing and tax reforms, would help to create a broader community and environment that supports Australian women to have alcohol free pregnancies.
ACV’s Sarah Jackson said the Committee should be congratulated for prioritising the health and wellbeing of our children, families and communities over the profits of the alcohol industry, and that the recommendations would go a long way to protect women of childbearing age from the harmful advertising and marketing tactics used by the alcohol industry.
“We all want all children to have the opportunity to lead healthy lives and reach their potential. Women should be supported to have alcohol free pregnancies. But the alcohol industry has shaped an environment and culture in Australia that normalises and encourages alcohol use in almost every aspect of our lives.”
“Many pregnancies in Australia are unplanned, and around one in four women in Australia use alcohol knowing they are pregnant.”
She noted the alcohol industry’s insidious strategy around marketing to women through social media, including the use of social media influencers such as ‘mummy bloggers’.
“We know that the alcohol industry specifically targets women as a strategic market. Women are encouraged to share ‘wine mum’ memes, promoting alcohol as a coping mechanism. The industry is also increasingly targeting women from a young age through marketing of pink drinks and sweet ready to drink mixers and ciders. Thirty per cent of Australian women drink alcohol at high risk levels.”
Alcohol exposure in pregnancy can cause a range of impairments to babies known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) – a permanent and lifelong disability, as well as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, birth defects and developmental problems.
ACV strongly supports government action to reduce people’s exposure to alcohol advertising, including women of childbearing age, through comprehensive legislation regulating the content, volume and placement of all forms of alcohol advertising.
Comprehensive action by Australian Governments in these policy areas will have a substantial impact in preventing FASD. It will also help prevent alcohol-fuelled harm and chronic diseases like cancer in our communities.