Drinks companies are again on the back foot after doctors yesterday called for a total ban on alcohol advertising, in the latest attack on Britain’s culture of so-called binge drinking.

The British Medical Association yesterday blamed “pro-alcohol messaging” for excessive drinking and urged the government to put a stop to advertising by drinks companies.

In a report dubbed Under the Influence, the body also called for minimum pricing to be introduced for booze and an end for cheap deals such as bogofs and happy hours.

“Given that the alcohol industry spends £800m a year promoting alcohol in the UK, it is no surprise that we see it everywhere,” said Professor Gerard Hastings, who co-authored the report. “All these promotional activities serve to normalise alcohol as an essential part of everyday life.”

The attack comes despite the industry recently pledging £100m to a major new campaign promoting responsible drinking.