There are no federal restrictions on the alcohol
industry regarding advertising norms. Many of the advertisements are aimed at
the youth than the adults. The alcohol industry
apparently spends over US$1 billion each year on measured media advertising,
such as television, radio, print, and billboards in the USA alone (2005
alcohol advertisements affect alcohol consumption among the youth has been an
issue for debate for long among public health scientists.
For this purpose, the scientists short listed
individuals between 15 to 26 years of age on a random basis from households
within top media markets in the US. Participants were asked 3 questions suggesting the frequency,
average quantity, and the maximum quantity of alcohol they consumed
. Similarly, the participants also had to disclose
how often they came across some form of advertisement related to alcohol over a
period of previoust 4 weeks. They also gathered information regarding the
advertisement expenditure on television, radio, billboards and newspapers.
seen that those
who were exposed to more alcohol advertisements on an average drank
more. Every additional advertisement saw
an increase in the number of drinks consumed by 1 percent.
Similarly, youth in markets where the per capita
expenditure for alcohol advertising was greater, drank more. Every additional dollar spent per capita raised the number of drink consumption by
3 percent. Markets where the advertising expenditure per capita was higher saw
more growth in drinking among older youth (25-years). The study results showed
that the increased drinking among youth can be attributed to alcohol
According to the study investigators, 'Greater alcohol advertising
expenditures in a market were related to both greater levels of youth drinking
and steeper increases in drinking over time. Youth who lived in markets with
more alcohol advertising drank more, increased their drinking levels more over
time, and continued to increase drinking levels into their late 20s. Youth who
lived in markets with less alcohol advertising drank less and showed a pattern
of increasing their drinking modestly until their early 20s, when their
drinking levels started to decline'.
They also asserted that 'seventh-grade alcohol
advertising exposure was related to greater beer drinking in eighth grade in
Los Angeles, California, and initiating drinking by ninth grade in South
They strongly disagreed with the claims that 'advertising is unrelated to youth drinking amounts and advertising at best causes brand switching, or it only affects those older than the legal drinking age, or drinking is effectively countered by current educational efforts'.
The researchers thus concluded that over a period
of time alcohol advertising is a contributing
factor to youth
- Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006;160:18-24.