According to A technical report on the harmful use of alcohol related to cross-border alcohol marketing, advertising and promotional activities, including those targeting youth and adolescentsdeveloped by the World Health Organization, alcohol is “a commodity of concern to public health.”

Alcohol products are advertised digitally across countries without any concern of social, economic and cultural environment in destined countries. 


Digital technologies and globalization are main factors that have made cross-border marketing of alcohol prevalent. While standard marketing plans are advertising on television, in cultural, and sport events, online alcohol marketing strategies targeted at international markets are social media campaigns and corporate social responsibility.



Alcohol marketing methods are expected to boost alcohol expenditure, and the purpose is served. Studies indicate that alcohol product marketing correlates with alcohol consumption among its targets, heavy drinkers. Albeit alcohol is classified as one of the most harmful psychoactive substances for global health, regulations on marketing it are much weaker than those for other psychoactive products. 

In 66% of countries, there is no specific regulation of digital alcohol marketing by governments, although some population groups, such as children and adolescents need to be protected against the contents of alcohol marketing or promotion.

Therefore, the global alcohol strategy aims to reduce impacts of alcohol advertising on young people and adolescents. To implement the global strategy, WHO called for collaboration from governments in all regions of the world.

In ASEAN populations in the region have faced health risks and social issues rooted from alcohol consumption for years: HIV/AIDS, crime, financial problems and unemployment. These alcohol-related problems hinder achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.



WHO South-East Asia Region (SEAR) has relatively lower drinker prevalence (13.5%) than other regions, but has a high percentage of heavy episodic drinking or binge drinking. An increasing consumption among youth and female population, which conventionally have low drinking prevalence is recently concerned.

Moreover, incomprehensiveness, inconsistency, and outdated policies for alcohol control are SEAR and ASEAN’s  weakness. As for alcohol advertising control, some countries in SEAR and ASEAN countries have restrictions, some do not.

Adult Per-capita consumption has also kept rising from 2.2 in 2005 to 3.4 liters of ethanol in 2010 and is predicted to increase to be close to 4 liters of ethanol in 2025.

In Cambodia, there is no regulation or restriction on alcohol advertising, so alcoholic drinks advertisements are common on TV, sport events,  and social media. It is also known that alcohol advertisements usually provide misleading effects of alcoholic drinks. Young people are easily exposed to these advertisements, causing the country to have a high rate of heavy episodic drinking.

Vietnam is another country that has a high rate of heavy episodic drinking, but there are laws and rules that were recently passed. For instance, alcohol advertisements cannot feature inaccurate or misleading information about the health effects of alcohol and must contain warnings regarding the negative effects of drinking.

“Alcohol advertisements appearing on online, visual or social media platforms must display written warnings in colors that contrast with background colors to ensure visibility and that such warnings must occupy a minimum of 10% of the advertisement area,” the draft specifies. 

Given these points, the SEA Regional Action Plan to Implement Global Strategy to Reduce Harmful Use of Alcohol for the SouthEast Asia Region (2014–2025) suggest proposed actions by member states as  below

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Kamonkorn Buangsoong (Writer)

A content creator who is passionate about literatures, cultures, and cutting-edge technology.

Apichaya Yenjai (Editor)

Plan to build a different future and seek to develop herself consistently through various kinds of activities

Orratai Waleewong (Advisor)

Researcher at International Health Policy Program (IHPP), Thailand

Alcohol Advertising in Sports is a Threat without Control in Cambodia

The most popular sport in Cambodia nowadays is volleyball, followed by football. These sports are not just exercises, but also entertainment. Sport is accessible for people at every age. Cambodians buy tickets to have fun with the games, chatting, and cheering. During the amusing activity, alcohol advertisements are promoted. They appear on billboards or television. At least, people receive products’ information subconsciously.

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4 thoughts on “ASEAN in focus: Reducing the harm from alcohol by regulating cross-border alcohol marketing, advertising and promotion”

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