A MAJORITY of people in Scotland would support tougher curbs on alcohol marketing, according to new research.

A poll of more than 1000 Scottish adults, carried out by YouGov between February and March this year, found that 75 per cent favoured additional controls to limit the exposure of children and young people to alcohol advertising.

Two thirds (68%) also backed a ban on alcohol adverts being aired on television before the 9pm watershed, with 71% of people supporting cinema restrictions which would prevent alcohol commercials being shown unless the film being screened was an 18 certificate.

Half (51%) of those interviewed also said they would be in favour of a ban on alcohol being advertised in outdoor public spaces such as streets, parks and on public transport.

READ MORE: Making sense of why Scotland's alcohol deaths are up when overall consumption is down 

In June, the UK Government announced plans to stop junk food advertising online and before 9pm on television from 2023, but alcohol products are not covered by these controls.

The Scottish Government has previously committed to consult on measures to restrict alcohol marketing to protect children and young people, given that alcohol use is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15 to 49 year olds worldwide.

Current guidelines from the Advertising Standards Authority state that commercials for alcohol must not feature anyone who looks younger than 25 and “must not be directed at people under 18 or contain anything that is likely to appeal to them by reflecting youth culture”.

The Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), a coalition of more than 50 health and alcohol organisations who share a common interest in reducing alcohol-related harm, is calling for ministers to go further and introduce new restrictions on alcohol marketing to protect children and vulnerable people.

Alison Douglas, chief executive of AHA member Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: “Alcohol companies invest billions of pounds a year in marketing their products but despite an ever-growing evidence base that exposure to alcohol marketing is a cause of drinking onset and binge drinking, the current system of self-regulation is failing to protect our young people.

“The figures on the high number of deaths from alcohol in Scotland underline the need to redouble our efforts on prevention in line with what works – increasing the price, limiting the availability and restricting the marketing of alcohol.

“This new polling shows that the Scottish public support controls to reduce alcohol marketing to protect our children and young people.”

READ MORE: We need to get serious about tackling alcohol abuse - and pricing is not the answer 

Dr Nathan Critchlow, academic fellow at the Institute for Social Marketing and Health at Stirling University, said: “Alcohol marketing regulation is an important topic of debate, both in Scotland and internationally.

“Several countries in Europe already have strict controls on where alcohol can be advertised and what advertising is allowed to say, while Ireland are in the process of implementing a range of new restrictions and the Scottish Government plan to consult on whether to introduce new controls.

“Although tobacco and alcohol are not identical products, the impact of various UK Government restrictions on tobacco marketing on youth smoking rates are plain to see, so it is logical that restrictions on alcohol marketing may be similarly effective.”

It comes just weeks after National Records for Scotland published figures showing that deaths caused by alcohol increased by 17% last year.

The World Health Organization has recommended limits on the promotion of alcohol to help cut consumption.

Research has found that 82% of young people recalled seeing at least one form of alcohol marketing in the last month, and studies have also shown that alcohol marketing is causally linked to alcohol use among young people.