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Can Banning Alcohol Advertising Curb Behavior?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Sometimes, is the "nanny state" necessary?

In South Africa, several people believe so. The country is facing rapid increases in death due to alcoholism, especially among the youth. The government and people there have been thinking of and implementing every solution they can think of, save one. 

Banning advertising in South Africa.

But that may change. According to eNews Channel Africa, there is a bill called the Alcoholic Beverages Bill, and its goal is to ban alcohol companies from advertising. The government believes that this will help reduce and ultimately change the drinking habits of its citizens.

We've seen this before in the States, haven't we?

The war on Big Tobacco started with the ban on advertising after sales were discontinued to people under the age of 18. After that, the United States started to see the general decline of tobacco sales. But, mind you, it wasn't just the ban of advertising that was effective. By adding age restrictions on sales, limiting quantities sold, and implementing higher levies (taxes) on them, all helped attribute to the decline. Then came to death-dealing blow: the prohibition of smoking indoors.

Can South Africa follow that same model for its alcohol problem?

Advertising carries a message, it allows people to see what is available and helps people decide what good or service they should buy. The lack of advertising does the same; its absence allows people to explore other alternatives. But it is not the end-all, be-all, for the country's alcoholism problem. 

It worked here (with help); if the bill goes through, it will be interesting to see if it works there.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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