A study conducted in the US has revealed that seeing advertisements related to alcohol prompts teenagers to start drinking. The UK has one of the highest youth drinking rates in the European Continent, with nearly 20% of those aged between 11 and 15 years drinking at least once a week, up from 13% in 1990.
Several studies have found an association between drinking and advertising but none had been able to establish whether there was a causal link.
Researchers at University of Connecticut studied 1,872 people aged between 15 and 26 over a two-year period and found that those who were exposed to one such advertisement a month consumed one percent more drinks.
The study published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine warned that young people were beginning to drink at an earlier age than ever before and their actions could affect their performance at school, as well as cause accidents.
The researchers also analyzed youth drinking in relation to the money spent on advertising, based on industry figures, and found investment in marketing also increased consumption. Lead researcher Leslie Snyder said the findings suggested a direct link between advertising and youth drinking.