It's never too early to promote healthy living
After 1000 days of debate, the Public Health Alcohol Bill passed through the Dáil last week with some long overdue regulations set out.
From next week, alcohol cannot be advertised within 200 metres of a school, crèche or local authority playground and this alone is a positive move.
In addition, from next year, there will be no alcohol advertising in cinemas except for movies with an 18 rating.
Such advertising will also be banned at public transport stops and vehicles and public service vehicles.
These may seem like small and to some, meaningless changes, but as part of a wider push to educate our youth about the dangers of alcohol misuse they cannot come soon enough.
We finally seem to be moving away from the Ireland which celebrated drinking to excess and enjoyed blissful ignorance of the health risks that drinking excess alcohol pose.
The damage that this attitude has done to so many people in our country over generations is staggering and to this day our health service is still creaking under the pressure of dealing with alcohol-related complaints and conditions daily.
I heard a statistic recently that in Ireland, three out of every 10 deaths in the country is related to alcohol consumption, whether that is because of a physical ailment or an accident or mental health problem that occurs as a result. If this isn't the wake up call we need, then what is?
Minister Simon Harris described these measures as a 'ground-breaking' last week and I agree.
Many will not see their merit straight away, and think it's a lot of fuss designed to target the alcohol companies but it is in fact a bill that will contribute greatly to sparking a societal change which will benefit our youth for generations to come.
It's about promoting a healthier approach to alcohol and simply having unregulated advertising which is all over the place is not a good message to be sending to children.
Many might argue the merit of banning such ads near crèches, but if we really want to send a healthy message to younger generations then why not start from the beginning?
It's never too early to promote a healthy lifestyle.