South Korea: Alcohol advert ban for young celebrities

Olympic skater Kim Yuna Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An advertisement featuring skater Kim Yuna prompted lawmakers to act

Young celebrities could soon be banned from advertising alcohol in South Korea, as figures show more people than ever are drinking, it's been reported.

A bill restricting people under the age of 25 from appearing in advertisements for alcoholic beverages has passed a key committee vote, and will become law if approved in the National Assembly, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reports. That means 21-year-old singer Lee Ji-eun, known to her fans as IU, would have to stop advertising a popular brand of soju liquor, the paper says. According to Chosun Ilbo, the bill was proposed after skater Kim Yuna helped advertise a brewery when she was 22 years old, leading lawmakers to question whether young idols could be enticing teenagers to drink.

The bill comes at a time where government figures show drinking levels are at an all-time high in South Korea, CNBC Asia-Pacific reports. Locals drink 13.7 shots of liquor per week, twice as much as Russian drinkers. Alcohol consumption is particularly high among young women, with 64.8% of women in their twenties saying they drink regularly, and one-in-ten admitting they are heavy drinkers, the Korea Times says. A Seoul Metropolitan Government survey cited young women as saying that their alcohol consumption was the combined result of stress and "the necessities of social life".

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